Archive for May, 2009

I Am Not Papa John

Posted in LotRO with tags on May 29, 2009 by koljarn

What is it with the Shire and FedEx quests?

I did the postal quest without going Postal.  Which is an accomplishment in itself – I play a Champion because I enjoy putting sharp objects through my enemies, not because I enjoy the travel package.   I even did the pie delivery stupidity for some lazy Hobbit.

I find it bizarre that you are not allowed to let other Hobbits “smell the pie.”  Out of context, that sounds dirty, doesn’t it?  Anyway, what is so dangerous about smelling pie?  Does the smell drive Hobbits into a mad feeding frenzy?  Oh, wait, that’s their natural state….

Anyway, after delivering these pies, I’m told that they are made with spoiled ingredients, and that I need to go bring each pie back individually without any Hobbits smelling them.  Huh?  When food goes bad in my house, it goes in the trash or down the disposal unit.  I don’t hoard it.  Crazy damn Hobbits.  And what’s with the smelling of pie again?  Is it worse because the Hobbits are sniffing spoiled pie?  Do they spontaneously combust after smelling a pie that’s gone bad?  If so, I’m grabbing a stack of month-old pies and setting them up with oscillating fans all over the Shire.  That ought to clean up this Hobbit infestation faster than the Orkin man.

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Gulliver’s Travels

Posted in LotRO with tags on May 27, 2009 by koljarn

Warning: much Hobbit hate is enclosed herein.

Against my better judgement, I logged in to LotRO last night, prodded Burhhelm, my Rohirrim Champion, into wakefulness, and marched him off to the Shire.  Yes, it’s an odd-sounding name, but Saxon names have always clicked with the Rohirrim and the men of Dale in my mind.  Hmm… digression after the second sentence.   Back to the Shire.

The Shire is packed to the gills with small rodent-like creatures called Hobbits who insist on burrowing into the ground like a bunch of gophers.  I’ve never been a fan of Hobbits, obviously.  I recognize them as a plot device – they represent the hopelessly incompetant and/or foolish people of the world who need to be protected from dangers that they don’t even notice.  When you see them engaged in acts of idiocy (Where has one of my sheep gone?  I wonder if those goblins 10 yards over yonder have seen it.  Perhaps you could pursue an inquiry for me, my good man?) all you can do is grit your teeth and try to assist them while wearing a veneer of gentility.  Underneath that outer appearance, you are, of course, raging at the absurdity of a shepherd who insists on courting certain death by hovering on the edge of a goblin raiding party which is, most likely, casting hungry glances at said Hobbit.

One of my friends thinks that I’m a bit unfair in my judgment of Hobbits.  He believes that Hobbits represent the completely helpless and innocent people of the world, but I disagree.  The Scourging of the Shire (yes, I really have read the books) demonstrates that Hobbits are more than capable of defending themselves.  I think they are simply too moronic to recognize danger until it is too late.

Anyway, I spent last night slumming it with the idiot pygmies of Middle-Earth.  I finished a few Deeds, but the best part was the abundance on minerals in the Shire.  No one goes there to mine.  The prattling and drooling Hobbits probably chase off other people.  If all goes according to my evil plan, I’ll grind out the Shire quests and Deeds by this weekend, and head off to deal with the Elf and Dwarf starting areas to do the same.  For all of their respective androgyny and grumpiness, Elves and Dwarves are at least aware that Arda is not completely safe.

Eriador Welcome Wagon

Posted in LotRO, Offline gaming, Tabletop RP with tags , on May 26, 2009 by koljarn

I’m such a lousy friend.  I seem to have roped at least two of my fellow D&D gamers into trying out LotRO.  If MMOs are addictive, then that makes me an enabler.  Someone call Doctor Phil.

I played quite a bit of LotROover the long weekend.  I really enjoy playing my Champion, though playing a Guardian would probably be better – staying power helps a lot when dealing with multiple mobs.  Still, I got to play in the Barrow Downs, which is an area that I findcompelling.  I have fond memories of that region from my MERP days (Middle Earth Role Playing, an old pencil-and-paper game).  I also got my Champion up to level 22, tried out the costume system (which is awesome – now I don’t need to keep dying every damn piece of gear to make it match) and smithed my heart out to become an Expert Weaponsmith.

Normally, I don’t like crafting.  However, I am playing LotRO differently from the way I play other MMO games.  I am not trying to hit any “endgame.”  I’m trying to hit as much of the content as I can, no matter how trivial.  After I finish in the Old Forest, I’m going to go to the elf and dwarf starting areas and do all of those grey-con quests, too (I may pass on the thrice-damned hobbit areas, though).  I’m trying to do every quest and complete every Deed, with the exception of the crafting quests which are outside of my area of skill.  I’m having a blast doing it.

Which leads me to a final note about Warhammer Online.  I cancelled my subscription.  The game just isn’t compelling any longer.  The RvR component was fun, though the client could not actually handle RvR, but I need some PvE and RvR together in that sort of game.  Sometimes, you just want to go hunt and enjoy yourself on your own.  WAR delivered in the RvR, but all that remained for me on the PvE side was a continuous series of raids.  I left WoW for WAR because I didn’t want to raid like that any longer.  Oh, well.  Like all MMOs, WAR is a work in progress.  Maybe there will be some future changes which pique my interest enough to return.

Our Saturday RPG game was fun, but we talked too much and didn’t get much done.  Still, I’m enjoying the Pathfinder campaign setting.  The modules are very well written, and a lot of thought has been put into everything.  I’m playing a Ranger, which is unusual for me – I haven’t liked any of the incarnations of the Ranger class since they became dual-wielding specialists back in 2nd edition D&D.  So far, I like what I’ve seen.  If I find something that I don’t enjoy, you’ll read about it right here.

Non-gaming topic: my new electric bass arrived on Friday, earlier than I expected.  There’s an awful lot of fret buzz on the E string, and I’m going to have to play with the bridge.  If that doesn’t fix it, then I suppose I’ll have to bite the bullet and pay to get the instrument set up by a professional.

Tuesday Thoughts

Posted in Background Noise, Offline gaming, Tabletop RP with tags on May 19, 2009 by koljarn

I’ve had some time to mull over the announcement that Champions Online is being delayed for a month.  In my opinion, this is a good thing.  Since the basic engine for CO seems to be built upon a souped-up CoH engine.  In my experience, CoH had a pretty good game engine that only started to break down (performance-wise) when people started pulling astronomically large numbers of mobs at once.  If CO has performance of this level or better, I’ll be there in a heartbeat.

In non-electronic gaming, also known as pencil-and-paper or, as I prefer to call it, analog gaming, my Saturday gaming group began a series of Pathfinder adventure modules called “Rise of the Runelords.”  Melodramatic title, but the quality of the material seems pretty good.  Also, it’s got nostalgia going for it.  I remember the “Against the Giants, “Scourge of the Slavelords,” and the “Temple of Elemental Evil” series rather fondly.  It takes some effort to create an overarching story line, but a good series of modules is better than simple nostalgia – it’s a load of fun.  Best of all, the little gray cells don’t simply atrophy, as with so many other games.  I’ve already given the Pathfinder rules my stamp of approval, but I’m warming up to the other Pathfinder products as well, right now.  I just hope they can maintain this level of quality for a while.

Monday – Where It All Begins

Posted in Background Noise with tags , on May 18, 2009 by koljarn

And another week begins….

It’s good to have people fighting over you, sometimes.  It’s not so good when it’s a choice between two slaps in the face.  I’ve mentioned some issues at work, previously.  What happened is that the contract on which I was working was picked up by another company.  The good news is that the new company wanted to retain me.  The bad news is that they also wanted to cut my pay by about 30% and take away a week of vacation.  My old employer wants to keep me as well.  However, they haven’t come up with a new position for me, yet.  So, it’s a choice between dropping way back in salary and benefits, or retaining my salary and benefits and not having a job for a few weeks in the near future.  There’s no good answer.

Over the weekend, I played a little bit of LotRO.  When I play it as a solo game with no goals other than to complete all the quests at my own pace and enjoy it with no eye towards the endgame, I like the game a lot.  I’m not sure that it could hold my attention for the long term, though.

Oh, and I watched a blasphemous B-movie.  It sucked.  Which is B-movie-speak for it being amusingly campy.  Watch it, if you can find a cheap copy, but don’t go out of your way to get it.

It’s Downhill from Here

Posted in Background Noise with tags on May 13, 2009 by koljarn

Happy hump day.  It’s been a pretty good work week, so far.  I have one job offer on the table and another in the pipe, so it looks like this turmoil in the office where I work will not affect me a whole lot.  Thus, I’m in a pretty good mood, despite having only two hours off every night.

One of those hours (and sometimes a little more) goes to practicing the bass.  I’m still at it.  Since I’m doing the self-taught with books route, I am avoiding a mistake that some music teachers make: doing exercises in order to learn to do more exercises.  I try to split stuff up and do some theory, some new practical stuff, and (most importantly) actually playing some music.  It is, after all, why I picked up the instrument in the first place.

Which brings me to the one thing that I dislike about learning the bass: TAB notation.  I know it’s the fact that I played piano when I was a young whippersnapper, but I do not like using TAB.  It’s just not enough information.  I want the whole thing – timing, tempo, volume, etc.  TAB just seems incomplete to me.

Anyway, when things settle down, my hours will shift back to normal, and I can game some more.  I still have a bit of anti-fantasy malaise going at the moment, but I’m sure I can manage to find something interesting to play.

Anyway, enough blather.  Go read this post on Bio Break.  I find myself soloing most of the time in MMOs, so I thought it was interesting.

A Little of This and a Little of That

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11, 2009 by koljarn

I hope everyone remembered to call their mother yesterday.  Yes?  Good.

I actually logged in to play a bit of WAR on Saturday morning.  No one on my friends list was to be found, so I made a Slayer.  Yeah, I know, Slayers have been around for weeks, now.  I had no urge to make one before, since I already had a White Lion and anIron Breaker.  Still, the Slayer was fun to play in tier 1 – even though there was absolutely zero RvR going on.  I ran around and did all the RvR scouting quests without seeing any players from either side.  I’m not sure if this portends anything – let’s hope not.  I hardly play WAR at all, but I’d like to see it succeed.

During our Saturday D&D game, we found out that  Pathfinder has gone to print.  Using the beta rules (which are a free download), we converted over to the system from D&D 3.5.  The conversion was fairly painless, and the game seems unchanged at lower levels.  I understand that the major differences kick in later on in the campaign.  Still, neutral-to-favorable reviews from me so far.

I could rant about my experiences with a local small business on Sunday, but I’ll leave that alone.  Start the week off on a positive note.