Wizard 101

I took a quick look at it last night and I mean, a really quick look. (Hey Ken, this is another one your daughter might enjoy.)

It’s a cute game. For some reason the settings in game allow for more resolution options than in the log in screen. Weird.

It’s meant for kids about the age that they can read. I thought it might have been nice to have voice over so kids that couldn’t quite read yet would be able to pick out what they’re going to say. Two problems with that:

1. They’d need to have a reader for what other people are saying

2. Not having it read out encourages parental interaction (i.e. the parent plays along and reads things for them)

The chat system has a non-free form chat (much like what was said to be coming in Free Realms and which already exists in Webkinz World) and a free form chat with a parent’s approval. The chat works by building up a short sentence of common things. Nifty.

The game has levels (and XP), gear and it appears to have spells that work as part of a card game. Sort of Pokemon online. You toss down a card and it does something to your target (or targets or you).

I didn’t look too much farther into it. I’ll let my son (five) try it out and see how he likes it.

By the way, he’s been impressing me with his reading. We’ve worked on sounding things out, but he’s also recognizing words too (not just simple word recognition, but recognizing words he’s sounded out before).

Remembrance Day…

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

-Lt.-Col. John McCrae

more about this poem

It’s hard for young people to really understand this and these people died to keep it that way. Thank you soldiers, new and old.

Am I Difficult to Understand?

Serious question.

Because either I’m difficult to understand or people are giving me the run around or they’re simply incompetent boobs.

I think it’s a matter of item two because of item three.

Q: Hi there, I trying to do X and I need to know what’s needed for A? And also how I can make finding A easier later?
A: The sky is blue and the grass is green.

Q: What? That wasn’t what I was asking?
A: Thank you, come again.

Paladin it is…

Rhaasek is born. Smaken is transferred. Celejanni is actually Chris.

I’ve been using Smaken to bankroll Rhaasek a little so now Smaken is poor. I had him out and farming a bit lately. I also took him into Un’Goro (twice) to pick up some pets. He’s got a big, stomping sound making Devilsaur pet (unnamed) that seems to do disgusting damage. I also picked up a Silithid pet (unnamed). I then headed over to Ashara to pick up a Chimera pet (Sean). I still have my trusty Cat pet (Hayden) which was actually raised up from level 23 to 70 – no instant boost to five levels under my own for that pet. Unfortunately, he’s not going to be unique for long. It seems there is another black cat coming in WotLK.

Even though they increased the stable to four slots, meaning I can have five pets, I need to pick carefully. I went with the Chimera to replace the Wind Serpent – a ranged caster pet. I picked up the Silithid on a whim and like that one of the talent abilities lets it eat a corpse to get happiness. The Devilsaur is also a fun pet that didn’t really replace anything – it’s got some pretty wicked DPS.

Several of the DPS class pets have some % chance to gain happiness talent abilities. They seem to have pretty different trees. I suspect the exotic pets have a different one from the class they fall under, if not somewhat slightly.

I still need to pick up a tank pet to replace Tyler that was a Scorpid. I think I’ll grab one from the zone with the gate to Outlands because I like the red and black Scorpid look. I debated grabbing a Bear but the Swipe ability that hits 3 targets at one time might be bad for CC folks. The Scorpid also gets to stack poison which I hear is really annoying in PVP.

Oh, and I want a Core Hound. I might have to head to Azuremyst Isle for that though and I’ll have to replace one of my pets.

  • Hayden – Cat
  • Sean – Chimera
  • Tyler – Scorpid
  • ?? – Core Hound
  • ?? – ??

Who do I keep? The Devilsaur or the Silithid? The Silithid is no maintenance but Devilsaur makes a big stompy sound. They fall under Ferocity (DPS) and Cunning (mix?) classes which I already have one of each.

Decisions, decisions…

EDIT: Oh, and I’m an idiot for dropping Skinning and Leatherworking from Smaken. I had Skinning maxed and Leatherworking was nearing the final tier when I decided he’d be better off with Enchanting and Herbalism to help him with the farming. Duh. I restarted both of them… that’s going to hurt.

Free Realms Beta

This is a good move by SOE.

When I first looked at it I said to myself, “Why the heck would I play this?” Well, I probably wouldn’t, not alone. My son, however, might be into this. In fact, I picked up a (PC) video game for him that involves dungeon delving and exploration. This sort of thing might be better suited for him so I might take a look.

Bonus of it being free (Ken, you reading this?) is that I could play along with him or my wife or my wife and my youngest son. It could be interesting and fun for all of us.

I’m not saying Ken is cheap, I just know he reads this from time to time and his daughter takes an interest in some of our D&D sessions – at least, when we weren’t playing evil characters – so it might be something they could enjoy doing together. Being free helps a lot when you’re trying to see if a kid is going to enjoy something.

interesting…

I had no idea that Blizzard lifted the restriction of transfering characters from a PVE server to a PVP server. Either way, Smaken is now on Firetree with my upcoming Paladin, Rhaasek (who will start being played tonight).

Smaken will likely end up being a bit of a farmer for my Paladin (enchanting materials) and Mage (inscription materials). He’s currently got his Skinning maxed and is getting up there with Leatherworking, but I’m going to ditch them for Herbalism and Enchanting. I figure if I’m caught up with the Pally, I can farm stuff with Smaken.

Chris can only play on weekends because of a wicked commute he has to work. That means Friday nights, most of Saturday and some of Sunday will be dedicated to the Paladin. Or rather, I might be playing the Paladin in those times. I might play him in some of the off times if Chris ends up playing a little more than I’m able to on the weekends just to keep up.

Hmm… I might have to go get some more addons that are more specific to Paladins… any advice out there?

I took a look at a talent spec for Protection, but I’ve read I shouldn’t bother with that until about 30th and just got Retribution instead. I don’t suspect I’ll solo much so I might still go Protection but start with some Holy talents to reduce interruptions and increase healing for now. I won’t need to do damage since I’ll have the Mage there.

Eberron – Smacked in the Head…

One of the joys of being a DM is being able to take a world and twist it how you want.

My current campaign is in Eberron and the players are villains. As villains, in a world where you’re supposed to be a cut above the rest, I’ve been giving them some pretty lofty goals. I also have them taking part in revealing some of the big questions or plotlines that Mr. Baker left unanswered. Here are a couple of things that I’m doing and twisting…

Galifar is reunited under one King.

This includes the newer nations that separated during the Thronehold treaty; Valenar, Talenta, Mror Holds, Zilargo, Eldeen Reaches, etc. They all have submitted to this new come King.

This King is a distant descendant of Karrn the Conqueror (a line thought muddied and ruined when King Caius was turned into a vampire) and a retired character of one of the players. The character was an Enchanter (Wizard Specialist) that picked up the Mindbender prestige class. Basically, magical domination and tyranny.

The King pulled this off because he managed to gain the backing of the Thirteen Dragonmarked Houses who made it happen through their combined abilities and resources.

Yes, I said “thirteen”. Part of one of the character plot lines was that he was a descendant of House Vol and his Dragonmark was really the lost mark of Death. He was used, in a fashion, to rebuild the house by siring others. Unknown to him, the gestation period was shorted magicially and the resulting children were taken to another plane with a different time measure where they were raised and trained. Now they’ve returned and have established House Vol once again.

With one King restored and House Vol returned, the Order of the Emerald Claw were disbanded. Members of their ranks were absorbed by House Vol or by the Army for the Kingdom of Galifar.

The King, and all thirteen houses, are dedicating resources to restoring Cyre. A noble cause that many of the citizens of Galifar are pleased with, even if they remain confused about the sudden shift and signing of the new treaty by their former noble rulers – who still rule, just under King Malik I of Galifar. Some believe something nefarious has happened, including the Silver Flame.

The Silver Flame believes the rulers are not themselves, perhaps possessed (excorism is their thing) but their attempts to get at the rulers are viewed as disention so they now stand where the Emerald Claw was, an outcast order that functions against the rule of existing King.

Things appear to have changed for the better but there is still more to come…

One thing that remains a mystery is how divine magic works, even by those that oppose the purpose of the God or religion they appear to be a part of still have their prayers answered. Those that do not believe in any divine being also have manifest these miraculous powers.

Why or how?

Time will tell…

Copying Hudson…

… so I’ll copy Hudson a little and ask people to pick a class for me to play in WoW which will be a reserved character that I’ll play only at set times when a friend (Chris) is online. The character will only be played when said friend is on. I don’t have a fancy poll so go ahead and post a comment suggesting a class if you want.

My friend is going to be playing a Blood Elf Mage – he really likes the Mage class- and we will be playing on Firetree (PVP) server. I’m a bit torn on the logic of pairing with a Mage but I’m considering the following classes:

  • Warlock – It is pretty powerful and has some utility as well as a pet that can tank. It’s also a class I haven’t played a lot of so it could be refreshing. Downside is that we wouldn’t really have any heals in the group if things went south and we would be sharing loot drops with both of us being cloth wearers.
  • Paladin – Can tank and heal which could be good for doing instances or questing and fending off random PVP people. I haven’t played one beyond level 20 so it would be a change. The class also looks for different loot from the Mage and can wear plate. Downside is that Blood Elves don’t look as impressive in plate armor as other races do.
  • Shaman – Can take a beating, heal well and has quite a different play style with the totems. It uses different loot and has some travel modes built in. It could be fun and as a healer type, it can be worthwhile in groups. Downside is that I’d have to move the character to the BE starting area and I’ve tried playing one a few times and got a little bored of it. I don’t know how they handle threat generation either so it might not really be able to ‘tank’.
  • Druid – This was added to the list this morning. Originally, it wasn’t something I was looking at playing because I tried it before and wasn’t too keen on it. Still, it’s a versatile class that has a lot of potential and can be quite flexible. I like that. It might also be a bit of a challenge to play since it’s pretty foreign to me. Loot types are different so that’s good. I know they do get taunting abilities which would be good. I’m starting to lean this way, though the downside is that I have to be Tauren (I love minotaurs, don’t get me wrong) and I’d have to move to the Blood Elf starting area. A level 1 run to Ogrimmar could be fun. I’m also not sure if there are any Druid trainers in the BE area or even in the UC area… that could be a huge PITA.

I didn’t list:

  • Warrior – A little too melee focused and limited for my liking, especially pair with a Mage. I figure why bother with a Warrior when I can get most of it as a Paladin and heals to boot.
  • Rogue – It might be cool to do with a Mage, but we’d both be sorta squishy and I think having a sneaky type would either leave my Mage friend looking like an easy target (if I stealth about) or it might make me an easy target (if I don’t stealth). I also want to have a class that makes joining a group or filling a group easier. I understand Rogues have a degree of CC to them, but ultimately, they’re DPS…
  • Mage – I already have one on that server which I’ll play in off times and I don’t want to compete for loot with my friend. He can have it.
  • Hunter – I have one which I might use in off times for farming and I’ve played several already to higher levels (20, 30, 50 and 70).
  • Priest – I played one to high 30s and it really didn’t do a lot for me. I think I’d much rather the extra gameplay added to a Druid, Paladin or Shaman. By ‘extra’ I mean, gameplay I haven’t done before in other games.

Help me decide!

(I think I might actually go Druid… maybe we can move to Kalimdor after doing the Blood Elf area.)

I’m Getting Soft…

… and I blame it on MMOs lately.

The last two MMOs that came out recently seemed to have built QuestHelper into their compass/minimaps. Okay, so it probably didn’t start with QuestHelper because before that I saw EQ2Maps in EQ2. Though you might say it first showed up with the Legacy of Guk maps in EQ1 and all the custom maps people developed. It’s just gotten a lot better and more user friendly.

Which does mean the user doesn’t really have any thinking, reading or exploring to do.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

I think a lot of the choices players make and the sense of freedom in a MMO is negatively impacted by this. Instead of exploring and completing quests as you go or even reading the text to find out where to go gets lost in this. You go from having to explore, find things or asking others to simply following the arrow on the compass.

I’m not sure how this differs from being forced to go in some direction or being led around by the ear. I’m starting to think that MMOs are moving away from playing a game and towards being a time filler.

Zubon made a good post about this sort of thing, though less specifically aimed at quest helpers, take a read.

Sad thing is, going to pick up some groceries for the wife is more challenging than MMOs lately. I can wander an aisle for ten minutes looking for something that is supposed to be there because the sign over head says “Baking Needs” but in recent MMOs, everything is laid out for me and I have to actively try not to find it to explore.

Oh and I’m getting soft because there is a quest in Fallout 3 that I found myself lost with. It’s a part in the Blood Lines where you get to Arefu and are supposed to find these “Family” guys and Lucy West’s missing brother. I can’t find them for the life of me. I wandered for hours and checked the locations specified, still nothing.

QuestHelper? Where are you?!

I actually like that I’m stumped on a quest… does that make me a masochist? Or do I simply like some challenge in my games?