Death of a Bruiser

If MMO’s were girlfriends, I would be one no-good, lousy, uncommitted boyfriend. But I just can’t do it. I can’t commit. I try my darnedest to do my part: I get excited about patches and expansions. I join guilds and get involved in the community. I drag my friends into the game with me. And invariably, I fizzle out. After I pass the initial honeymoon stage I start thinking, “am I really going to be doing this (grind, craft, boring Fed Ex quests) to the exclusion of everything else? And pay for it, too?” Then I get that sick feeling that I’ve been hoodwinked and I’m wasting my time. Then I bail.

It’s happening again. Everquest 2 is on the outs. It’s nothing EQ2 did. Overall, it was an enjoyable game with fairly agreeable players playing it. I had fun playing a Barbarian as a Bruiser, even if I did spend the last few months in a wrestling singlet. The world was beautiful, the gaming was satisfying and the grinding wasn’t super “grindy.” But not everything was perfect. The crafting, a very large factor of my overall enjoyment of an MMO, in EQ2 (as a Provisioner) was the most boring thing I’ve ever convinced myself was “fun.” Spending two hours a day for over a week crafting the same five items, because “hey, I have the raw materials,” is not fun. I even out-sourced the crafting to my wife. I showed her how to do it while she was emailing or playing spider solitaire on the other monitor. I OUTSOURCED MY FUN. Except it wasn’t fun.

So my adventures in Norrath are over, at least temporarily. I say that everytime I quit. “Temporarily.” But it never is. It’s permanent, no matter what I tell myself. My character in Neocron, my beloved Constructor, is gone. My Planetside what-ever-they-were called, gone. My army of Guild Wars warriors, kaput. My EVE pilot is still docked somewhere in space, awaiting my return. While I’d like to think we’ll meet up again, it probably ain’t happening. Same with Odious, the big lug. I’ll miss him.

I am a console gamer at heart, PC gamer by convenience. I’ve loved me some great PC games, but my gaming started with a console and I can’t deny my pedigree. There are currently just too many good games on the 360 (and the Wii, which at some point soon I will get). That’s not even considering the DS. So something had to go. It was time to say good by to Everquest 2. It was fun while it lasted.

Farewell, Odious. I knew thee well.

Odious rides off into the sunset

Traveling in Everquest 2

I haven’t posted a lot about Everquest 2 lately, but after reading some recent posts about how good Everquest 2 is becoming recently and all the fun other bloggers are having with the game, I have found myself playing EQ2 quite a bit lately.

I recently dinged thirty and decided it was time to find some new stomping grounds. But, since I suffer from RPG-OCD, I had to make sure I left no quest unfulfilled. I decided to take a look at my quest journal and worked on wrapping up any quests I have left over in the Commonlands. Now that I’m heading north of level 30, I figured it was time to bid farewell to the open plains of the Commonlands with one last quest clearing hurrah. The first thing I did was to get my first mount:

My new mount

I figured getting my mount would facilitate all the running around I’d need to do to wrap up my quests. For the most part, I like traveling by horse, but I do have one nagging issue — horseback combat. If I was some kind of ranger-like character, shooting my bow from horseback or if I was a caster, throwing fireballs from the saddle, I would be fine with it. But I am a bruiser, with attacks like “Flying Kick” and “Haymaker.” My hands and feet are my weapons of choice. In fact, I don’t even have a weapon equipped. So when I attack something from the horse, it looks really lame as my arms are flailing around all crazy-like. Not very cool, so I usually dismount to smack around the bad guys.

After I finished up almost all my quests in CL (EQ2i.com rocks!) I had a good session of exploring. Finding new areas, seeing new sights and uncovering the fog of war on a new map is one of my favorite things to do. I guess I’m an Explorer (actually, I’m: AESK (Achiever 60.00%, Explorer 53.33%, Killer 40.00%, Socializer 46.67%)). I had already explored most of Nektulos Forest, so I moved on to the Thundering Steppes, exploring most of that map and finding the Griffon Stations. Then I ventured to The Enchanted Land. At level 30, that area looked a bit out of my league, but I did find the next tier of harvesting nodes, so I spent some time harvesting some items so I can work on my Provisioner skills during my next crafting session. I’m pretty excited about that.

Last night, while wrapping up my last couple quests in the Fallen Gate, I decided to join a PUG and head deep into the bowels of the FG and make our way to “the Vault”. It was also an excellent time, as all the guys I grouped with were pretty cool guys and we kicked 7 different kinds of butt. It was pretty awesome. Two barbarians led the way (my bruiser and a paladin) and we pretty much tromped everything in our path. The loot wasn’t great, but since I had never been that far into that area, there was much Achievement experience to be had.

All in all, a good couple weeks of EQ2. Everquest 2 is firmly ensconced as my #1 game. I initially thought it would be a game I would play 1 or 2 times a week at most, but I don’t see myself slowing down anytime soon. I’m already making plans for my first alt!

Back in business!

At least I’m almost back in business. I got my main PC fully upgraded (components listed here) and everything seems to be running smoothly. And of course much faster to boot. Every experience seems better with a clean fresh Windows install and new hardware.

And speaking of better experiences, I had no idea how much I was missing, graphically, in Everquest 2. I had the graphic detailed dialed all the way down so my old machine could handle it. The game looked decent, but I wasn’t blown away by it. After the new install with all the increased power, I was able to crank the details way up, and holy smokes! What a difference it makes. I had no idea there was grass in the Commonlands! I had no idea the mountains in the background looked so good! It was a HUGE improvement over my previous experience — the lighting effects, the spell effects, the details on my character and on the monsters — Wow! I am very impressed with how good Everquest really looks!

So it looks like I’ll be spending a lot more time playing EQ2, especially since my 360 is still in repairs. I don’t expect to see it for another week, so I guess I’ll have to be a PC gamer for a little longer.

(Hopefully this will also mean I will have a little more time to dedicate to actually blogging about video games, not just meaningless updates about my PC)

What I’m playing

I have a new rule for my game playing — I’m limiting myself to one title per console at a time. A couple of games are exempt from the rule. Viva Pinata is one, since it’s a game my kids love to watch. So I can pop Viva in at any time. Another is Sudoku on Brain Age. That’s an excellent 5-minute gaming-fix game, so it’s exempt as well. So, with that in mind, here is what I’m playing:

CrackdownCrackdown – I haven’t played much Crackdown lately, as the kids have been monopolizing the TV of late. I’ve finished off the first two gangs, so I’m in no hurry to rush through the rest of the single player missions. I haven’t felt super compelled to jump back into Crackdown for some reason, but if I could get into a co-op game or two, that would definitely interest me. My first couple co-op games were a total blast, so I’m looking forward to more co-op craziness. If you see me online, don’t hesistate to send an invite. I’ll probably be on at some point since I have hundreds of orbs to gather. The way it looks now, I may do a little orb hunting this weekend.

I have the maps, afterall.

Everquest 2Everquest 2 – Right now, EQ2 is consuming the lion’s share of my gaming time. When my running mates are on, I’m out slaying monsters and doing quests. When they’re not on, I’m harvesting everything in sight and working on my tradeskills. I decided to go with Provisioner (the guy that makes food) because everyone’s got to eat, right? The crafting isn’t as engaging as I thought it would be at first, but it’s still a fun diversion. I just wish there was a way to make more than two items at a time.

I also made my way to Nektulos Forest, which is much too difficult for my little Bruiser, but has actually rekindled that feeling I had when I first played EQ1. My first couple weeks in EQ2 didn’t have that same feeling, but making it to the forest, where things are darker and more confined, reminded me of my first corpse runs in EQ1. Ahhh, those were the days.

Contact DSContact – Currently, Contact is getting the least amount of attention. I get to it about once a day (read: bathroom break) but I’m making steady progress. I started over from scratch a few weeks ago, so I had to replay through some of the content, but it wasn’t too painful. I’m now in the desert, trying to find all the pieces to a statue. I’ve exhausted all the places to look, and the only possibilities seem to be either buying a deed to a pyramid to explore (it’d take forever to get enough money for it) or figure out what outfit I need to wear to open a door in another pyramid.

Anyone with hints for getting past this point would be appreciated. Otherwise, Contact has been a fun little game. I’d classify it as an RPG-lite kind of game, which is okay with me.

So that’s what I’m playing. I’ll also think I’ll slip in a round or two of Tiger Woods when I get a chance. What are you guys playing?

Everquest 2 – First Impressions

I’ve spent about 5+ hours with Everquest 2, so before I jump back into another session, I thought I’d share a few thoughts of my first experiences with the game.

First, a little history of how I play MMOGs. When I play a new game, I jump into the game blindly. I don’t read FAQs, player guides, anything. I jump in, make a character and start playing. Whether I stick with that character or not depends, but I get a flavor of the game and then I start reading the guides, following the forums, and I change my play style accordingly. With that in mind, here’s how things are going so far.

I started my life in Norrath as a Barbarian Bruiser. I usually go with the “good” character types, but I was feeling a little evil, so I went with the evil version of a monk. I haven’t played a tank since my Diablo 2 days, so I thought a tank would be fun to play. The character creation had quite a few options, and after a few nips and tucks, my nasty looking Bruiser was ready to go.

All new players start off on a “newbie” island, that acts as a mini tutorial. It didn’t take long to do most of the island missions, and I was ready to head to the real world in a few hours, already a level 6 Bruiser.

So far, I like what I’ve seen. It plays fine (if a little choppy on my four year old computer). Once I got off the island at to Freeport, the world opened instantly. Exploring the city of Freeport looks like it could take forever, and that’s just the city! When I ventured outside it seemed to get even larger. It did seem like there weren’t a lot of other people playing, but that could simply be the server I’m on (Crushbone) or the time I’m playing. There seemed to be an endless supply of missions and quests, so there looks to be plenty of content. I’ve always loved the crafting aspects of MMOGs, and EQ 2’s tradeskill content looks like it should be a good time. So far, so good for me and EQ 2.

I’d love to play any readers who play on the Crushbone server or any tips for a newbie. Drop me a note in the comments.

Surviving a Dead Rising

Contrary to the immortal words of Gloria Gaynor it appears that I will not, in fact, survive. More succintly, my Xbox 360 will not survive. It appears that asking it to perform its duties for longer than a few hours results in a hissy fit involving red lights:

It's hot in here!

That’s right, the red rings of death. Luckily it was only two red lights, which effectively means “I’m too hot, I’m shutting down.” In hindsight, I should have opened the doors on the entertainment center to allow for a little air circulation, but with little kids that are ever pressing green buttons, I couldn’t take my chances. So mid-way through my third day of survival, having just survived 24 hours outdoors, the 360 died, rather unceremoniously. Seven hours of Dead Rising down the drain. Son of a!

So it appears I’m once again done playing Dead Rising for the foreseeable future. I got a couple more achievements before everything died, so it wasn’t a total loss, but I didn’t accomplish the end goal. Thanks to everyone who sent me well wishes on my quest. If everything had gone according to plan, I would still be playing. But it was not to be.

Since Dead Rising is no longer going to consume me, I decided to take the plunge in Everquest 2. I’m currently designing my first character. I’ll have a little blurb of my first experiences later. This is probably a mistake, as my EQ time will be immediately diminished on Tuesday when Crackdown shows up. We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get there.

EverQuest II – /pizza

EverQuest II – /pizza – At first I thought Jason at loonyblog was kidding. Then I actually followed the link.

Ever get those nasty hunger pains playing EverQuest II?

You’re in luck – pizza is just a few key strokes away! While playing EverQuest II just type /pizza and a web browser will launch the online ordering section of pizzahut.com. Fill in your info and just kick back until fresh pizza is delivered straight to your door.

Now I will admit I’ve used pizzahut.com to order pizza before, but this is just crazy-talk. Do I ever get those nasty hunger pains? Heck yes, I do. But I think I’ll just satisfy them the old fashion way – by leaving my computer and making myself a dang quesadilla.

(BTW, shouldn’t that be “hunger pangs”? Or are they assuming you’ve been playing EQII so much that you’ve ignored the initial hunger pangs and now the sides of your stomach are scraping together, causing actual, physical pain? Something to think about)