Archive for December, 2010

Simply Put

December 31, 2010

I have been playing a lot of WoW lately. Also, because my son has off from school and I am off from work, I have been playing a fair bit of Wii games. Both games benefit from the same concept and both companies have made an obscene amount of money from that same concept: taking something simple and executing it well.

The Wii console was not a technological marvel as far as graphics and computing horsepower. Many people call it a glorified game cube. What they did manage to do was take a new concept, motion sensing, and execute it well. They made it fun for the masses. Now any hard core gamer will list the ways that the Wii is a hunk of garbage, but I’m sure you plop them down with their families at a holiday gathering or social event and they will be trying to out-bowl uncle Lester or out dance cousin Clara just as much as the next person. Is it because the game is super cool and has all these bells and whistles…no. It is because the game is accessible to these people and fun in the process.

World of Warcraft has done the same thing. They have taken a cool concept, an online perpetual world with RPG mechanics, and made it accessible to your average Joe gamer. Sure there are plenty of people out there who find this game ridiculously easy and devoid of challenge, but there are soooooooo many people who love this game. Are they not gamers just because  they don’t like really sophisticated games like EVE or Darkfall? People label them as carebears because they don’t want to compete against each other in deathmatches or competitive PvP. The people are having fun playing a game. Isn’t that what this is all about anyway?

I have been playing video games since the days when chasing a digital square back and forth on a screen was popular. Okay maybe that was a smidge before my time, but I do remember playing a home console version with my siblings. I consider myself a gamer at my core, but I have never been one to play a game just for the challenge or because it is hard. I play to have fun. That definition is different for everyone, but the reason many of these games get popular is because they are easy to get into. They might be tough to master, but you can have fun even if you don’t.

There will always be a niche for those games that are difficult and challenging. Some people find them very fun. In the end though, I think that is all they will ever be is niche games. As people have more and more things to grab their attention not to mention all of the obligations and responsibilities that life throws at us, simple is fun for most of us.


Tank You Very Much

December 29, 2010

I have to tell you, there is nothing like having a massive, spiked shield to make your avatar look the part of a tank. After running a couple of dungeons with some guildies (a couple dungeon finder runs with Zaranna and then some help from Anissa and Morehnai) I managed to gear up with some pretty spectacular stuff! Now it’s not like I can run dungeons solo or even quest with reckless abandon, but I am in pretty good shape for my level. Of course with the pace that you level in WoW it shouldn’t take me too long to outgrow my shell, but it feels good at the moment.

Anyway, I have been having hit-or-miss luck with the dungeon finder lately but I did notice that when Zaranna  (a similarly leveled healer) and I queued up for the runs together, people must have noticed that we were from the same server and guild because we really didn’t get any bad groups. There were still a couple of wipes here and there, but nobody got hostile and there were even a few apologies. I guess it is good to remember that when you are the tank or healer in the runs, you really do have some authority over what goes on. Otherwise the DPS folks can go sit in the queue for 15 mins while you can go get a new one in like 1 minute.


Happy Holidays

December 25, 2010

From all of us at TMS (okay so it is pretty much just me) have a great set of holidays!


PS Go easy on the NOG!

Screencap ‘O the Day

December 23, 2010

Green Bay Packers fan? What do you think he has to say about Favre?


Steam Sale

December 22, 2010

As per usual, Steam has slashed prices on just about everything in their possession at the last minute before Christmas. I looked through the list and there are a ton of games that I always wanted to play, but never got around to. I am actually going to resist the urge this time around to go and spend money on some games that I will probably never play, but I did see Golden Axe and Altered Beast in their classic sega games for only $2.24 each! Oh, who am I kidding, now where is that credit card…


Adder it Up

December 21, 2010

I didn’t feel like running dungeons today so I figured I would run through some quests. I checked the big board in Orgrimmar and it shuttled me off to the Southern Barrens. I ran through a couple of quests and I picked one up that had me looking around for some critters and picking them up. They were snake critters and this variety were called Enervating Adders. In any event, the whole point is that I wasn’t paying attention when I picked up the quest to catch its title, but when I did I laughed out loud. The name of the quest is Adder Subtraction.

I know a lot of people criticize WoW for the cartooney style of the  graphics, but if the game wasn’t as tongue in cheek as it is with its graphics and atmosphere the quest title probably would have elicited a groan instead of a laugh. I just wonder if the stylization of the graphics doesn’t allow for this sort of thing to a greater extent as opposed to a game like Conan or even EQ2 or that matter. In any event, I wonder how many little sillies I’ve missed along the way through games. I easily could have missed that one.


Screen Cap ‘o the Day

December 17, 2010

From the goblin starting area…all I can think of when I see this is Dark Helmet from Spaceballs!

WoW: Close Encounter of the Stupid Kind

December 17, 2010

I have run into some people in WoW in my brief time playing the game that have rubbed me the wrong way, but I ran into a D-Bag the other day that actually had me seething. I queued for the dungeon finder as a tank or a “Meat Shield” if you will. Soon I was staring at the initial corridor for the Stormwind Stockade instance. Not one of my favorites, but at least it is short.

Let me take a second to note that I am not an awesome tank, but I’m not wretched either. Most times I can hold aggro pretty well and rarely overpull. I might move a little slower than the next guy, but I try to be methodical and get a feel for the capabilities of the group.

So we started down the corridor and it seemed like more mobs were coming than normal, but then again I had only tanked the dungeon one other time. We get to the first boss room and I pull the three goons standing by the door. Before I know it the entire room comes pouring out including the boss. We wipe.

Run back (and it is a long run mind you) to get back and try it again. We make it through, barely, and then head down the next corridor. Craziness ensues and all the side rooms get pulled. Someone says that because we have 3 shaman in the group all the totems are pulling the mobs. We wipe again.

I am starting to get ticked at this point and also feeling a little self conscious that it is my fault. Anyway, we head into the boss room and I clear it out and somehow we manage to kill the boss unscathed. OK, I thought, maybe we have it together.

We head down the final corridor and this time as I was pulling a couple of mobs, I see three more that were well out of aggro range start running my way. Crap I thought, what did I do? AoE? Get too close? Only the mobs run right by me and to the troll shaman in the back. I was like WTF is that all about. The healer pulled mobs? I do my best but someone died, and once all the mobs were dead…that same healer says (not in party chat mind you) /s You are an awful tank.

I lost it! I never do it, but I bailed on the instance. Didn’t even type one word. Right click -> Leave group. I walked away from the game after that…I came back a half hour later and figured I would do a little questing. Wouldn’t you know it that the same toon sends me a tell later asking me if I wanted to group with him! OMG! Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest. Now I can move on.


Image from the cover of Mouthbreather by The Jesus Lizard.

Cows Make Better Doors than Windows

December 17, 2010

Meet Pid. Pid is was a Tauren Paladin in the Walk the Plank guild on Silvermoon. He is a pretty cool dude. He never hurt anyone that didn’t deserve it. Pid was unceremoniously morphed into a blood elf paladin today. Why you ask? Because I couldn’t see any of the mobs in front of my character, that’s why. I flailed around with the mouse, tabbed, spammed every button on my keyboard but to no avail. So now Pid the paladin is a little more slender with much larger ears and a heck of a lot easier to see around.

The funny thing is, the first dungeon I ran after converting Pid into an elf, another tauren pally who was specced for DPS insisted on standing right on top of my character every time I pulled a group of mobs. I just sighed and moved to the left after every pull. I felt like I was doing the electric slide. Ugh.

Anyway, I feel like I can do a better job tanking now that I can actually see what is going on. How do you other tauren tanks do it?



What’s the Story with Cataclysm?

December 10, 2010

I have been reading a lot of love for WoW: Cataclysm in the blogosphere lately and quite a few of the posts say that the new quest experience is awesome because it tells a story while having you do quests. The one detractor that is common is that the game play is more on rails than ever, but if you can get past that then the game is a heck of a lot of fun. I must agree that I am having a blast playing WoW right now, but it is the first time I have ever played it (past level 5 anyway) and I have never experienced the dreaded WoW endgame.

My thought on all this hooplah for WoW and its ability to spin a yarn is that is bodes very well for SW:TOR should BioWare manage to create the nuts and bolts of any MMO with decent quality. I mean Blizzard is known for creating games with polish and good game play. BioWare is known for creating games that tell a great story and their polish and game play isn’t awful either. I have really put TOR on the back burner of my mind lately so that I don’t get too excited about the game, but playing WoW with the new questing is making it hard not to think about TOR. Don’t let me down BioWare!