I Won’t Lie, I Miss It…

It being two things. Perhaps I should have said “its” though I don’t think there is a plural form of it unless you say “those things there”.

Coffee. I do miss it. It’s part of my morning ritual. (Day 2) Feel pretty good today, though near the end of the afternoon yesterday and in the evening I was dozing off. Even while playing Lego Harry Potter (PS3) with the boys.

LittleBigOgre had his first ‘camp out’ in front of the local video game store yesterday morning. He was eagerly awaiting Lego Harry Potter (Years 1-4). Okay, so it wasn’t really a camp out, he just got there a little early with his mother (a.k.a. TheWife) and the store wasn’t open yet. He was quite pleased to learn he got the only remaining copy of the game that wasn’t reserved.

Back to the other thing I miss; D&D. I have to admit I do miss it which is probably a good thing. It means I’ll be enthusiastic when it starts up again which should be later on in July.

We’ll be going into a new campaign with yet another DM. It’s been awhile since this DM.. DMed. Back when I started playing with this group, I believe it was one guy, then another and then this guy. Since then it was the other guy, yet another guy, then another, then yet another guy, then me and then that other guy after the other guy.

He’s building up a portion of a collaborative project where some amazingly, awesome genius in the group though it would be great to have all our DMing experience work together in rounding out our own little playground (shared campaign world). This other guy is taking the first jab at a portion of the game world.

The area is currently in control by Mind Flayers who are using humans and other humanoids as slaves (and food). Animals really. Some are favored pets, but that is all.

If I didn’t know this guy better I’d worry it was some sort of S&M fetish, but I know he is just thinking of what it would be like if Illithids ran a kingdom or empire or what ever it is.

After much debate, I decided on playing an Ogre which will eventually end up as a Fighter (we’re using Savage Species-like rules instead of the Level Adjustment mechanic). I had decided against that in the previous campaign because I would have likely made him too stupid and with a severe deficit in the intuition department. That would have made him more of a detriment to the party than anything else. Instead I eased up on a few of the physical stats and bumped the mental stats up enough that he’d be more like a country bumpkin or someone that hasn’t really been exposed to the world and doesn’t really think ahead.

Other potential characters were:

- A memory-wiped/shattered mind Elan Psion (Shaper) where I proposed a bunch of potential backgrounds and left it up to the DM to pick without telling me. I figured it’d be fun to play and figure out who he was. The backgrounds ranged from psionic criminal/psychopath to an accountant that had a minor psionic powers which he used to entertain kids.

- A Sorcerer that focused on Conjurations. I hadn’t delved too much in creating a background since I dropped him for the Psion (Shaper) pretty quickly. The concept was supposed to be disposable HPs while bringing some buffs or debuffs to the group.

- The Halfling Barbarian/Druid character concept I’ve been toying with for awhile. I just find it amusing to imagine a 3’5” 50 pound Halfling flying into a Barbarian’s rage.

By the way, last time when I had to choose between a teenage, slacker Priest of Thor and the Goblin Cleric of Hermes, I went with the Goblin Cleric and it worked out really well. I had a ton of fun and it seems that he amused everyone else too while doing his best to keep them alive.

The Unpopular Kid…

Oddly enough, Tim threw this CNN article at me a few minutes ago (it was on fire and stuffed into a bottle with alcohol) so I took a quick read of it. It got me thinking, some of those points actually apply to this blog.

“Your blog is a spaz,” totally applies. I’m all over the place though mainly focused on games, what’s going on in my life or some of my opinions. Over the last little while I’ve only been playing WoW so that has been my focus. That and D&D. And coffee. Okay, so I have no focus.

I guess that means I’m a spaz. I can’t say I’m surprised, I’ve been living with myself for 35 years now. Being a spaz isn’t something that just creeps up on you, it’s not sneaky enough to do that. Tables, chairs, walls, doors and other inanimate objects with sharp edges or pointy corners might though.

“Your blog is a loner,” wasn’t really true a little while ago. I was part of a gaming blog community for a bit there. It was more of an unofficial membership though. I think I’m still on the blogroll’s of some other gaming bloggers out there… even if they don’t seem to post here anymore. Of course, some of those bloggers I mentioned still have retired blogs on their blogroll so it could mean they just haven’t gotten around to removing me from their blogroll yet.

“Your blog is funny looking,” could apply I guess. The look is dated. It’s an old WordPress template that hasn’t really been customized other than the banner image. It’s also fairly commonly used one. I suppose I could update it with all the latest bells and whistles, maybe even get some webhosting or something instead of using freebie stuff. That’d be too much like work, though.

“Your blog is shy,” makes references to hoping that you’re a diamond in the rough – I’m sure most bloggers have this feeling tucked away. “If I write it, they will come!” I’m well aware I’m not the best writer out there but I’m not that horrible. I’ve never really been a big stats guy. I peek at the views and note some of the more popular titles that get hits and try not to do that again in the future, but that’s about it.

“Your blog is rude.” YES! This point goes on about loners wishing they could be the class clown. Truth is, I was never the class clown. I was the good quiet kid that sat in the back of the class because the teacher wasn’t worried that they’d cause trouble and they didn’t need the attention other students did. It suggests making a point ‘whilst causing a disturbance’. I admit, I have become a bit of a guild clown or at least I was until Tim came back to WoW and joined us again. It’s an endeavor that actually brings me more enjoyment than downing new bosses. I try to walk the line between crass, rude but non-offensively funny.

Thank you for all those points, I do think they’re pretty valid points if you want to be popular. I took stock of some of the blogs I frequent to see where they measured up and the more popular ones definitely seem to follow a lot of these guidelines.

I’m going to try harder to take this little place that is my escape from conformity and conform to what you think a blog should be.

… and they say sarcasm doesn’t come across well with text.

I’ve said well over four years ago when I started blogging – this blog is about whatever I want it to be about at the time I am able to spare some minutes to rattle away at the keyboard.

If you like it or get a laugh? Cool. If you don’t like it or disagree? Cool too.

But this blog is for me, not you.

Good Question…

Tobold asks a question, “How much gear do you need?

Good question, something I’ve been asking myself a lot lately… okay, not so much lately because I now have just about everything for my Hunter that I could want outside of the 25 man Lich King weapons.

Really.

I’ve got five pieces of T10 gear, four of those are sanctified (upgraded). I’ve got the equivalent to T10 pieces in all the other slots. I’ve got a nifty bow (one of the best outside of the crossbow from LK 25), oodles of trinkets, etc.

Smaken is geared to the hilt and is capped in his professions (Cooking, First Aid, Engineering and Jewelcrafitng – Fishing was getting there).

And I’m sort of bored. I have little else to work for with him other than actually getting a LK kill. I have no desire to go out of my way to farm rep. I don’t have any desire to run dailies. I think about the only goal I have at the moment is to get a mechno-hog mount through my Engineering skill but even that is just a time sink in farming or playing the Auction House.

Why am I sticking around?

Mainly so others can get theirs too and to see the LK go down.

My play time has diminished a lot. I’m far less active on there even though I could easily gear up some of my alts.

Lannister sits somewhere between T9 and T10 with his Ret gear and is a little closer to T9 than T10 with his Prot gear – I’ve tanked through to Plague Quarter with him on alt night. Also capped in his professions (First Aid, Cooking, Fishing, Blacksmithing and Mining).

Deleciel sits somewhere between T8 and T9 for gear – focusing mainly on Holy spec for her. There is a fair bit of room for improvement for her but I’ve no motivation given that I’m not going to raid. She’s not capped on skills, I put them on hold for now (Herbalism and Inscription).

Kremus sits just before Naxx gear (T7) since I haven’t taken much time to run him through heroics. His main professions are maxed though (Enchanting and Alchemy).

Back to Tobold’s question.

You need as much loot as you want to have or to enable you to do what you want with a character in a given game.

Your millage will vary depending on what you want from a given MMO.

Moar Proof that Blizzard Wants to Kill Large Raids…

From the EU side of things:

Guildmasters, it’s time to earn you and your guildmates a gaze into the Cataclysm! Gather your friends, head over to your favourite spot and showcase your impressive photography skills. Every week, for five weeks, the 100 most impressive screenshots will earn you and your guild 10 keycodes to access the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Beta!

The source is here: http://www.wow-europe.com/en/contests/guildcontest/index.html

Notice how it’s not your entire guild or 25 people, it’s 10. Maybe if we’re more vocal we can get some solo raids?

Also (SOURCE) there will be obese models for each of the races and gender combinations in the upcoming Cataclysm. Why?

Auto-quest complete technology: Players are able to complete quests in the field and immediately begin the next quest in the chain, without running back to the quest giver for the next step in the quest, allowing multiple quests to be completed without returning home. Think of it as Archmage Vargoth’s staff on steroids.

Okay, so they’re not going to add obese models to the game, though they should with how easy they’re going to be making things.

“Don’t worry Mr. Quest-Giver (his mom, Mrs. Giver wanted to preserve her ‘identity’) I can just notify you telepathically that I’ve completed your quest and you can teleport the rewards to me.”

Mounts at earlier levels and now no need to return to quest givers? My toons are definitely going to get chunky.

Day One of no caffeine and… shit… I just realized there is all sorts of caffeine in this double chocolate muffin I’m eating. Maybe I’m off the hook. Yes! I’m using an alternative stimulant now! (I kid.)

I was feeling a little tired, groggy, random aches which included a head ache. Yawning a lot.

Weekend of Freedom…

Last year’s day of freedom was such a big success that this year I’m going to try a weekend of freedom for this year!

The wife and kids (along with her friend and her friend’s son) are going to head off camping for an upcoming weekend leaving me all by myself and totally free to roam about the house buck naked!

I’m still trying to work out the vehicle details but I don’t think it’s going to happen – too many kids, adults and camping gear to stuff into a single van unless we get clever packing, maybe a few air holes… no, that won’t do.

I guess that means I’ll either need to do groceries or order in all weekend long. The horror!

The plan is Chinese Food Friday so I can have leftovers for lunch on Saturday. Saturday night I’m thinking pizza – though hopefully not super cheese pizza I had last time that left my bowels in disorder for a week. Again, I’ll have leftovers for lunch on Sunday. Sunday night they should be home.

I’m still debating what to do over that time. Do I pick up some movies I’ve missed and can’t watch with the wife kids? (I mean action movies with loads of violence…) Or do I finally work towards finishing off some games I have kicking around?

On the list of games to finish:

Dragon Age: Origins (maybe get Awakening?)
Mass Effect 2 (play through two as a Biotic and with the DLC)
Overlord
Overlord 2

I don’t know that I have any others unless I dip into the PS3. Assuming I don’t have anything going on with friends.

Any recommendations?

Buh Bye Coffee…

I’m going to try to cut out coffee (and caffeine) consumption.

Why?

I drink a lot of it during the week, but next to none on the weekend or when I’m on vacation. I suspect that makes me hit caffeine withdrawal on the weekend or when I’m on vacation.

I get headaches.
I am overly tired even though I sleep well.
I get surly and the ‘blehs’.
I get muscle aches.

Stuff like that. I’m going to cut it out as much as possible (some things likely contain caffeine that I’m not aware of) for a couple of weeks. From what I read, it should take about 9 days to clear it all out of my system so I should be good next Tuesday or Wednesday.

(BTW, this is in place of what was going to be a typical, “I’m Bored” post. I am bored though. I’m so bored, I’m tempted to level another 80… only I’m bored of Alliance side so I was thinking Horde side. Only none of the classes I don’t already have 80s for appeal to me so I’m thinking a Horde Hunter. That’ll be my third or fourth Hunter played. How boring is that? Maybe I’ll try a Warlock again… or just level my Mage. Or there is always my Druid. Maybe I’ll just go lay down for a bit….zzzz…. *snort*…zzzZZZZZzzzz….)

Companion Characters and Advanced Class…

This stuff for SW:ToR sounds a fair bit like what was done for Mass Effect 2.

Not a bad idea overall and it’s a clever way for them to inject content over time. They can patch in missions or quests or whatever and use these ‘companions’ as a vehicle for making that content accessible.

If done right, it can help tailor that content to a player if they make which companions you have a matter of choice or result of how you choose to play.

I just wonder how it will work in the gameplay (combat or social)? Are people going to be running around town with the same companions sort of like Wizard 101? Or are they going to be tucked away in your own ship and only taken out for some sort of solo instance?

What happens when everyone seems to have the same companions? Is one companion going to offer better benefits than another? Are people going to feel cheated about missing out on one or the other (if that’s how it is going to work)?

It’s an interesting idea. I wonder how the masses will abuse it or complain about it?

The Advanced Class system sounds a little like the Prestige Class system in D&D 3e, which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise as KOTOR was based on the d20 version of Star Wars RPG. It only makes sense to carry this forward to TOR.

Main difference appears to be that Prestige Classes were optional while these advanced classes seem to be branching your character towards one role over another (somewhat like in 4e D&D).

I don’t believe this will work like WoW does. There appears to be a core ‘talent’ tree then two others based on the Advanced Class you pick.

Again, interesting. I wonder if re-specing will be available or not?

Assault, Robotics, Medic and Recon – Oh My!

I had a weird night. I was dead tired and crashed around 7:30pm. The kids woke me up at 9:30pm when they snuck into my bed and asked to help finish reading a book. Poking and pinching and pushing and punching ensued.

Little buggers.

I chased them off to their rooms then headed downstairs to see what the wife was up to.

She was watching crap (America’s Got Talent… indeed).

The little buggers came downstairs again. We chased them back up to bed. The big guy snuck back into my room – at this point I was trying to read and fall asleep. No luck. He crashed pretty quickly though.

The wife came to bed so I moved the big guy to his room and crawled back into bed.

Couldn’t sleep. Damn it. I was now wide awake and somewhat rejuvenated with having had two hours sleep.

So I went downstairs. Hopped onto WoW, did my daily transmutation (Blizzard, you need to separate gems and eternals onto different timers), did my JC daily and considered running a random. I didn’t have it in me so I logged.

Popped into Global Agenda for a little and balked at the loading screen I looked at the characters. What to play?

Assault? Meh, not self-sufficient enough.

Robotics? Really powerful, lots of choices and great survivability but, according to the GA Forums, it’s the choice of unskilled players.

Medic? I figured I’d dust this off, see if I can get him to 10th so I can run some Mercenary (PVP) missions. Maybe if I play a useful healer it’ll go easier.

I almost bailed on the class after the first couple of Special OPs PUGs. Seems people think they’re invulnerable when a Medic is in the group. I’ve got news for you, I can only target one of you ‘tards so stop rushing through thinking I’m going to keep you alive.

I managed to make it to 10 and fired up a Breach type game (where you have to advance from point to point while the other team defends). I got a Payload game type.

WTH?

I think the UI is a little misleading. There seems to be a check box for each of the game types or something. I guess I queued for the first one that came up because I selected Breach (it was highlighted) then clicked Join.

Either way, the other team had a better grip on how to play Payload so it felt sort of like Breach and we were a poor defense. I have to admit, I felt a little more useful than I did with the Robotics guy.

I started feeling selfish.

Recon? Yeah, I’m going to give it a shot. Played that one through a few Mercenary missions PUGs. Got some cash worked out. Got the ‘sniper’ rifle and started using that weapon.

Yes!

It can only be fired while viewing through the scope but it does worthy damage. I like. I’m just short of 10, picked up the Decoy offhand device (creates a second me that taunts targets).

Damn. It’s 2am.

Head upstairs, grab a book. About 3am now and I finally fall asleep.

6am TheWife wakes me up saying, “Look at the raccoon family in our backyard!” A big fat momma raccoon and two little ones and rooting around in the grass looking for grubs (I’m guessing). That or they’re little robots built by the local lawn care company and they’re actually planting grubs so we’ll have to buy the latest ‘grub control’.

Oddly enough, I feel better than I did the last couple of days. Despite the paranoia about robotic raccoons.

I Am Proud.

My youngest (LittleLittleOgre) apparently did really well on his report card. No negative marks, everything is advancing as expected except two areas where he is developing beyond expectations.

A quick note about my youngest, he turned four about a half a month into junior kindergarten. He’ll be turning five half a month into senior kindergarten later this year.

Not following?

He would.

He was three when he started kindergarten. He’s not even five yet. He’s developing as expected for a kid a year older and exceeding in two of those areas.

If I had to guess, it’d likely be reading and either art or French. He absolutely floors me when I see him reading stuff. I know, I know… every parent thinks their kid is a genius. I’m not saying that, I’m just stunned by how well he reads given his age.

I first realized he was above average in reading when we were at the dentist six months ago. He picked up a Blue’s Clue book and wanted to read it. I hate to admit I groaned inwardly because it had more text than a simple sentence per page – not the typical book I was expecting. There were about two sentences per page with some little instructions on what to do on the page (each page was incomplete).

He cuddled up in my lap and opened the book. I took a breath and before I could start reading he was starting the first page. I couldn’t believe it! He didn’t stumble on the words I thought he would and several of them were pretty big (four or five syllables).

This was the first time he saw this book as it was at the dentist’s office, this wasn’t a story he heard over and over so it wasn’t from memory.

Completely blew me away.

Just yesterday he was showing me his one of his workbooks from class. It was all about drawing self-portraits, writing letters and the sounds the letters make. The readers he was coming home with were all really simple things; one sentence with a picture that pretty much told them what to say (i.e. a book called “I Like…” with pages that had a picture of a cat and the sentence, “I like cats.”).

I’m really not sure where he picked up how to read like he does. Yes, it’s from my side of the family, I was reading novels and by eight years old, including Tolkien while TheWife doesn’t read so much as a magazine – she knows how, just doesn’t like to.

Oh, TheWife just confirmed what he got the Beyond Expectations marks in – reading English AND French!

Dude!

My oldest (LittleBigOgre) reads really well too, but he’s mainly shown growth in that area now. He was above the expectations when he was in Kindergarten but he was the appropriate age. He’s currently reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid and is almost done.

He surprised me yesterday when we were at the baseball field. We bought a wooden t-ball bat on the weekend – no t-ball stand. I was pitching to him (underhand) for the first time and he was nailing the ball four out of five times. I ended up having him turn around so he was facing the cage because I was getting tired of chasing the ball (it was just the two of us).

No worries, I did not lose any teeth and the boys were not damaged at all during this batting practice.

Though I did bag myself with the mit after TheWife showed up to play too.

That hurt.

I’m looking forward to seeing their report cards.

UPDATE: Because I know you all care. The big guy had eight ‘A’s and six ‘B’s while the little guy actually had four ‘Beyond Expectations’ including awareness of his surroundings and group interactions (a future raider for sure!).

TheWife made a deal with the big guy, 5$ per A so she’s going to have to fork over 40$. hehe