Archive for the Background Noise Category

A Civ V Hangover

Posted in Background Noise on December 12, 2011 by koljarn

Wow, I feel like I’m back in college.  I woke up this morning, groggy and with a dull headache, wondering where the hell the weekend went.  Then, I remembered.  A friend and I spent all weekend playing Civ V over Steam.  Not multiple games, mind you – one long, drawn-out game which is still not finished.  Brutal wait times for the A.I. – I recommend that you do not play this game if you lack patience.

On the other hand, it’s always fun to run roughshod over a unit of pikemen with your modern tank platoon.  Just saying.


Werewolves, Skirmishes, and Armor

Posted in Background Noise, LotRO, Online Gaming, Skirmishes with tags , , , on September 19, 2010 by koljarn

I’m going to start this post with something non-gaming related.  Relax, I’ll post some LotRO stuff in a little while.  I’ve noted in the past that I enjoy the occasional bad movie.  Not boring ones – let me be clear on that.  Bad movies can still be entertaining (in a campy sort of way), boring movies are an excuse to do something else.  One thing that went hand-in-hand with bad movies used to be the Horror Host.  Now an endangered species, Horror Hosts used to stampede across the wilds of late-night television on Fridays and Saturdays.

Well, I came across a live one.  If you’re lucky enough to have access to a cable network called the Retro Television Network, then you may already know about Wolfman Mac.  His show is a little more family-friendly than some horror hosts, but it has all of the classic earmarks.  Low budget?  Check.  Bad jokes and sketches?  Check.  Actors that look like your next-door neighbors?  Check.  Cheap movies?  Check.  Enough humor to liven up the dull parts of said movies?  Check.  Last night’s show featured the original House on Haunted Hill.  The movie is alow-budget classic, and Wolfman Mac made it even more entertaining.  Great show – I’m going to have to get a DVR so I don’t miss any episodes in the future.  Oh, and the show has a blog right here.

Anyway… LotRO.  Yes, gaming, I remember.

As I stated in my last post, it is just not possible to upgrade your gear to anything decent by crafting alone any longer.  You have to churn through instances – level 60+ ones.  One of the nice things that Turbine featured in this last mini-expansion is the ability to sign up for the classic instances from anywhere in the game world and the ability to set the level of the instance.  These instances drop tokens which, combined with skirmish marks, can be used to purchase some jewellery (which is okay, but not great), decent weapons (if you use an offhand, it may be useful to you), and two armor sets.

There is also a chance (a slim one) that a Symbol of Celebrimbor may drop off of the final boss in an instance, but I would rather focus on the armor sets.  There are two major skirmish armor sets available at level 65 – an Annuminas set, and a Helegrod set.  The Helegrod set is quite nice – the Champion set bonus is a bit underwhelming, but the stats are significantly higher than the Annuminas set on a piece-by-piece basis.  It also lacks Radiance, which is not that important if you’re not a raider.  The Annuminas set has some nice set bonuses as well as a higher armor value.  Frankly, I prefer the Annuminas set, despite the unimportant Radiance bonuses that it features.

Why would a Champion prefer the Annuminas set?  Well, last night I got a nap in so that I could stay up late and hit some of the updated instances with some of my Kin.  Although we had a capable Warden to do the tanking, I had to off-tank frequently.  It is just the way the encounters are designed.  If I’m going to be a punching bag, you can be sure that I want to have a thick skin, and that is what the Annuminas set offers me.  The set also offers a good measure of might and vitality – I will have to make up for other stats by changing what rings and other items that I use.  As for how quickly you can get the set, we did three instances last night, and we got enough special marks to get one piece of armor.

So, how do you gear up at 65?  Keep skirmishing (you need a bit more than 1k skirmish marks for each armor piece), keep hitting instances for daily quests (for the special marks), and hope that a Symbol of Celebrimbor drops from instance bosses.  It will wear you down, so do not grind away at it or it will feel like work.  A few instances each week will be plenty to keep you slowly upgrading while still enjoying the game.  If it’s not fun, do something else.  Otherwise, this sort of grind will burn you out.

You Want that Apothecary to Go?

Posted in Background Noise, Offline gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , on June 26, 2010 by koljarn

Vroom.  He’s gone.

Yeah, my Ravenwing Apothecary is done.  Here are a few snapshots:

He won’t win any painting contests, but he looks good enough for tabletop use.  So, now I have to finish the Ravenwing bike squads (3 bikes to go), work on a regular Ravenwing landspeeder (I might try to make it a magnetized Typhoon, though), and finally, I have decided to paint a Master of the Ravenwing on a speeder, rather than on a jetbike.

Simply Dreadful

Posted in Background Noise, Offline gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , on June 21, 2010 by koljarn

So, finishing touches have been placed on my new plastic dread, and I’ve added details to my existing Forge World dread. Both painted to a tabletop standard, as is my wont.
Age before beauty. Here is the Forge World venerable dread with TLLC. I also painted a TLAC arm, and started getting mortis TLAC arms ready.

Forge World Dreadnought

That model holds up pretty well, but all the detail seems a little cluttered. I put together one of the new plastic venerable dreads with the same armament as my Forge World one (TLLC and TLAC arms). Here are the photos:

Plastic Venerable Dread

Plastic Ven Dread

And two shots of the ven dread with the TLAC arm:

Plastic Ven Dread, shot 2

Plastic Ven Dread, shot 3

I’m satisfied with the results. Now, on to my next project: a Ravenwing Apothecary.


Posted in Background Noise, City of Heroes, Offline gaming, Online Gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , , on June 6, 2010 by koljarn

Yeah, another 40K post.  Them’s the breaks.  I’ll get back to LotRO as soon as they dish out some new content – I do have a lifetime sub, after all.

Something that I have noticed that really tweaks me a little bit is when people build army lists for 40K and cross fluff lines.  I mean that they take special characters and/or units as if they were not just a different sub-group (such as Ultramarines versus Crimson Fists), but as if they were both at the same time.

Let me be clear on this: it is not breaking the rules.  Fine.  However, it is not in the spirit of the game.  It is metaphorically similar to the difference between illegal and unethical.  Obviously, not everyone plays the game fluff-heavy, and gamesmanship is rampant among the tourney crowd.  Again, that’s fine – for them.  Mercifully, the few people against whom I play (on the rare occasions when I get to play) believe in following the fluff – the story – as much as they believe in following the rules.

Oh, well, enough ranting.  I could go one for quite a while if I don’t reign myself in.

I’ve thrown together a City of Villains character, just for the Going Rogue expansion.  If it turns out that you have to be level 40+ in order to do whatever task force is required to change sides, then such is life.  Playing a Mastermind who can summon ninjas is pretty cool, though.  Not as cool as being able to nuke a city block with a Blaster, but still fun.

That’s all for now.

Nerd Rage!

Posted in Background Noise, City of Heroes, Offline gaming, Online Gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , , on May 16, 2010 by koljarn

I’ve stated before that I always try to patronize local businesses rather than using the Internet when making a purchase. As always, Murphy’s Law decided to impose itself.

All I wanted to purchase was some modeling putty, some paint, and some dye. I was flexible about the brand of pain and dye – all that mattered was that the paint be a light brown color and the dye needed to be dark brown. I was informed that they were out of stock on each item, and that they would be willing to do a special order for me instead. OK, I could understand being out of stock on a special model or a limited edition game piece. No big deal. However, common supplies are something that you keep in stock. I might have thought that this was due to a run on the store, except that this was over the course of two weeks, and on each visit to the store they were out of stock. Naturally, I ordered my supplies online, where I received them at a significant discount.

Do I feel guilty about ordering hobby supplies online? Yes, which may strike people as a bit odd. Local businesses are important to me – not the big shops, I mean the small businesses with one or two branches. Restaurants, local hardware stores, and those sort of businesses usually give something back to the community. This particular hobby shop is a great place to hang out and talk to other gamers, but it has pretty poor record about keeping itself well stocked. Frankly, I don’t know how long it will stay in business if it continues this practice.

Enough ranting. I have completed almost all of the power armored Dark Angels in my refurbishment project. I have four Ravenwing bikers to re-base, and I am putting together two new Ravenwing sergeants (when I first put the Ravenwing squads together, there were no mounted models with sculpted robes). When I finally finish the Ravenwing stuff, I’ll try to snap a few photographs. Then, it will be time to re-base a terminator assault squad and paint two more magnetized dreadnought arms. I’ll have to squeeze one more ranged terminator squad in there, somewhere. I have a bunch of stuff to do, but the progress that I’ve made is heartening, to say the least.

Online, I haven’t had much time to do too much. I’ve been tinkering around with lowbies in CoH, trying out the electric tanker build. It is visually appealing, but I don’t know how well it will perform at later levels. As always, blasters remain my favorite archetype.

Mudder’s Day

Posted in Background Noise, City of Heroes, Offline gaming, Online Gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , , on May 8, 2010 by koljarn

Progress on refurbishing my 40K Dark Angels army continues. I have mostly finished painting two veteran sergeants for my two tac quads; they need a squad decal and the bases need to be done. Speaking of bases, both tac squads need to be fully re-based from the static grass and green that they have now to the desert scheme that I used with my Deathwing. After that, I’m not sure whether I’ll start refurbishing my assault terminators or my dev squad. It might be best if I alternate between colors, so I don’t get bored.

I schlepped myself out of the house to see “Kick Ass” yesterday. Decent flick, worth the price of admission if you enjoy subversive humor and over-the-top violence. If you have sensitive ears, or if the sight of blood upsets you, then steer clear.

MMO-wise, I’ve been tinkering around with an electric blaster. He’s ready to take on the Frostfire mission, but he doesn’t have a travel power, yet (level 11). He seems fun enough. Like the ice blaster, electric has some control elements, though not as much. I’ll probably play the electric blaster with my friends until they get to a high enough level that I can use my level 30 ice blaster with them.

And that’s it. Enjoy your Mother’s Day, everyone.