I’m back!

Woohoo! It’s good to be back! Well, not really. I loved being on my honeymoon, and I enjoyed the first real 100% relaxing trip I’ve taken in over 10 years. Nothing beats swaying in a hammock on a tropical island.¬†We took a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas and had an absolutely wonderful time. This was my first cruise ever, and I have to say it was much better than I expected.

We were on aboard the Disney Dream. She really is a beautiful ship, and as a detail oriented person I love how Disney goes to great lengths to ensure every little detail contains that sparkle of Disney magic. From the Aqua Duck water slide-coaster to the private island, it really is a great experience. We paid quite a premium, as in all things Disney, but it was worth it for us as Disney fans. I’m happy to share any details and answer any questions you might have about the cruise. Suffice it to say I highly recommend it and will do it again.

Oh! The wedding was beautiful, and the the whole day was magnificent. I’m so glad that I can say the entire thing from ‘I do’ until the last day of the honeymoon was absolutely flawless. The one hiccup in all of it was at the very end on our flight home … we got delayed right at the last second before boarding and ended up spending like 14 hours in the airport waiting on our flight. To top it off we both got colds from all the sneezing and coughing people on the plane. Both of us agreed that the honeymoon ended upon the cruise docking so this doesn’t count! ūüėČ

So what now? My internet (~22mbps … grumble) is up and running. I just got my computer and desk all set up yesterday night. I’ll be logging in from home now to play games again!

Did I miss anything big? I’m going through all the news sites and my email (over a week without my phone on means quite a pile to sort through) and should be up and running today or tomorrow at the latest. We have lots of furniture being delivered and still so much to do, but I’m at a point now where I can come home from work and relax to some games.

AT&T U-verse Questions – HELP!

My fiancée and I are moving stuff into our new place, debating which TV to buy, waiting for the bed to be delivered, trying to find decent furniture, and then we realized one important thing: We should probably get internet. Before I jump to the point of this post I want to give a little preface.

When choosing this place we did so based on a huge list of criteria ranging from our budget to its location, etc., etc. Everything is truly amazing except for the fact that the only internet provider we can get is AT&T U-verse. What a total drag. I hate being victim to a monopoly, but supposedly the developers gave TWC time to come in but they were late so they closed up the ground and said no more running lines.

Our apartment complex was built just under a year ago. AT&T U-verse ran¬†fiber lines directly to each unit during construction. U-verse has a dedicated rep for our complex that supposedly gives pretty good deals to rival what AT&T will sell you on their website. So I got the guy’s number and gave him a call.

I got on the phone and cut right to the chase: I want the best internet you got and I want a little bit of TV too. So he put together a package that comes in at $76/month +California taxes (that price includes their hidden fees and modem leasing, yada yada) and a guarantee that our prices do not go up each year due to the special deal we got through our complex. Yep, that’s cheaper than their online prices (I’d be paying 86 for the same package and slowest internet). I choked when he told me how fast the connection was: 18mbps. Excuse me, say what? I currently have 100mbps from TWC. The rep told me “Yeah but this is Fiber running straight to your unit. It’s better.” I asked, “Why?” He said, “because it has more bandwidth and on TWC you have lots of people sharing the same line and that slows you down.” I replied, “Speedtests showed me getting 100mbps-125mbps at all times. I didn’t feel slow. I downloaded any time of day at 10 megabytes to 13 megabytes a second.” He replied again about it being consistent and great.

Having no choice, we’re going to have our setup occur on March 30th. My question to you all is whether or not this guy is giving me a load of crap. I see 18mbps and I think I’m about to go back to the stone age. I want to watch my Netflix in super HD and not have any buffering issues, and I want to do it while playing online games with great ping. Am I going to be okay? Speak comfort to me, friends!

EverQuest Lost

No, that’s not the name of the next EverQuest game. ‘Lost’ is¬†how many of us fans are feeling today.

Big heartfelt condolences go out to the many fine people at Daybreak (SOE) who were laid off. All of the layoffs suck, but to see Steve Danuser and Dave Georgeson and so many of the EQ dev and community teams let go truly pains me. EverQuest lost a huge part of its heart and soul today. You guys and gals did great work. Thank you for your contributions to my favorite franchise.

As a player and fan of these games, the hardest thing to think about in all of this is that anything is possible right now. EverQuest Next could be axed entirely in favor of redistributing all of the newly acquired company’s resources toward me-too games like H1Z1 or something else entirely more appealing to the newly appointed overlords.

Every industry and company has these kinds of days (my own company went through it last week), but I feel like the gaming industry is just so dang volatile lately. I’m starting to think I should stick to marketing outside of games and just be an outsider looking in and enjoying (or trying to) something fun to play.

In a world where success is being dictated by Twitch viewers and how many registered users a F2P game has, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters. Those of us willing should hold fast to our ideals. We know what¬†matters most. We know what works. We know where the future will ultimately end up. How the industry gets there will be… well, on days like today it’ll suck. Maybe it will ultimately crash. Maybe it has to in order to recover and go back.

Again, best wishes to those affected. Please go somewhere and make great games. There are many of us just waiting to play.

Merry Christmas to Our Friends

Nintendo Christmas Tree

We hope that all of our readers — our friends — have a wonderful and merry Christmas. All of you are very important to us. You read what we have to say, you leave valued commentary, and you make this an engaging and interactive place to discuss games and entertainment. Be safe, enjoy your families, and game on.

And please enjoy our Nintendo Tree we do every year!

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Being a raid leader was just practice

I used to think that running a raiding guild back in the Molten Core and Black Wing Lair days took a lot of preparation and coordination. We would have to crank out all kinds of food and potions, coordinate arrival times, make contingency plans, adapt to changes in attendees, figure out who to invite and not invite, and deal with all sorts of drama. I would spend hours and hours making sure everything went just right.  Turns out I was simply practicing for planning a wedding.

I’ve still managed to squeeze in some gaming time despite having my days filled with work, venues, and excel spreadsheets out my ears for everything from food to invitees. I got into the Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha! I’ve played only a handful of matches but I’m really enjoying the gameplay. It’s simplified DOTA. Heroes of the Storm reminds me of those Hero Arena games I used to play back in the custom games for Warcraft 3. Lots of fun and I look forward to playing it more this weekend before giving even more thoughts on the game.

My Barbarian in Diablo 3 Season 1 is still coming along quite nicely too. Something about spreading my playtime very thin with D3 gives me a renewed sense of love for being able to log in, get loot, and kill lots of monsters. In one morning I went from not being able to do Torment 1 to being able to clear Torment 4 with ease. All it took was a few runs in rifts and I got 3 set Ik, 3 earth, a Bovine bardiche, and Lut socks. Now I’m leap quaking everything to pieces.

Graev picked up Civ Beyond Eearth. I’m going to watch him play it for a bit today¬†(tomorrow?) and decide if I want to get myself a copy. If you’ve tried it by the time you read this post feel free to give your impressions. I’m eager to hear if dropping the $49.99 is worth it. Graev actually saved a bit by using some deal Green Man Gaming has going for 25% off. We’ll get our impressions up soon — Graev seems to be reviewing games like crazy these days.

I’m just glad all of the MMOs out right now suck. If something like Camelot Unchained or EverQuest Next was out I’d be really hurting. I remember every year I’d go back up to college after a nice summer break¬†and¬†a new MMO would launch right in the first week of classes. This is good karma coming back to me now. Best drought ever.