Sorry for the blog being so slow lately.  I’ve contacted my hosting to try and resolve the issue and was told that there is another website on the shared hosting slowing things down for everyone.  Since I’m not about to drop $100+ a month to get a dedicated server I’ll just have to deal with these occasional hiccups in performance.  I’m told that the issue should be resolved soon.  /hope


Ever a Questing I go

eq halloween 1 shadowI’ve been really struggling to find that inner muse lately. There seems to be a lull in the MMO community and with my own recent departure from MMORPGs that doesn’t help. As I said a few nights ago I resubbed to Everquest 2. With nothing to lose, Kunark coming November 13th, and a general like the game have all contributed to my gradual ease back into MMOs on a very casual scale. I’m dedicating at most a few hours a day or less yet I’m having an enormous amount of fun! My character choices are still swirling in my head especially with the Sarnak’s being playable when Kunark is released. I’ve created a character on two different servers right now as I decide what I would like to play around on for the next couple of weeks. My “main” character has been a Gnome Conjuror named Gnobby on the Antonia Bayle Server. I feel like a complete noob and for once that’s really nice. Ignorance is bliss because half the magic comes from not knowing what’s out there.

Aside from working my way slowly through all the Greater Faydark quests (I’m actually reading them…) there’s been a few events worth mentioning. Last night in the level 10-19 chat channel someone randomly asked if anyone was new to the game. I replied that I am back in the game after playing on and off for a very brief time and that I was basically new. He told me to meet him at the Thundering Steppes docks because he had something for me. When I finally made my way there (after dying 3 times in Butcherblock mountains… not friendly for a level 13) I was greeted with a trade window full of items. This kind gentleman gave me 5 platinum, 5 28 Slot boxes, a bunch of harvested rares, a few house items, and a few bags. After I picked my jaw up off the floor I asked why he was giving me all his things and he replied that he had not been playing on the server for months since he was on the PvP server now. I thanked him and he logged off. So about 30 minutes later as I crawled 500lbs over weight to my inn room I decided that I am going to save all this money for my Sarnak and only use the boxes on this guy.

This morning I logged in and wanted to run a few of the Halloween quests that were apparently in North Qeynos. Really unsure of how to get there I asked kindly in the OOC channel where I was immediately messaged by 5 or 6 people offering their help whether it be teleports or clearing the way to the docks as an escort. I sorted things out and had a Wizard bring me to Antonica where I hopped a Gryphon to Qeynos. After talking with the Wizard and his friends in the group I was invited to join a little half-way guild that basically specialized in helping newer players with quests, questions, and really overall a kind group of helpful people. I accepted. I was also offered information on a helpful channel where I can ask questions about anything to a large playerbase of more helpful players. These aren’t isolated incidents. It seems like there are helpful people everywhere I look. It’s not all this way I’m sure – There are people who won’t give anyone the time of day at all but I shrug it off.

After getting the helpful knowledge hookup I made my way into Qeynos to do the Trick-or-Treating and Haunted house events. The Trick-or-Treating began in North Qeynos by talking to a goblin who asked for candy. He had me run around to NPCs all over Qeynos shouting “Trick-or-Treat!”. NPCs would then randomly give a type of candy. After 10 minutes your time is up and you have to give the candy to the goblin. Part of the mini-game is that you need to find the kinds he wants and not the kinds he doesn’t. Depending on how well you do you can earn 3 different tiers of rewards. Being the collector that I am I decided to earn a prize from each tier and it turns out they are masks. (See Screenshots below) I also decided to go to the Haunted House where you solve puzzles and free the spirits of a family that lived there. At the end you find out what was truly haunting them and you get another prize. (more masks!)

Overall, EQ2 has been a blast so far and I’m looking forward to playing at a very casual pace. I’m enjoying the game, the community, and can’t stop beating myself up for not staying with this one years ago. That’s part of life I guess. Hopefully I can shake this regret and enjoy the game now. 🙂

Below are screenshots of my masks and general Halloween pictures from around Norrath.

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Keeping it real

It’s a slow Saturday when the most eventful thing you’ve done is watch the pre-game show for game 3 of the World Series. I’ve been looking for writing inspiration these days as the gaming news has too been slow. Things have been so slow that Graev and I have delayed the recording of our podcast until there is actually material worth talking about; afterall, we don’t want to bore you to death more than usual. I’m sitting here today browsing gaming fan and news sites staying informed as I usually do when it hits me like a 95 mile an hour fast ball: What is it people are looking for when they go to a gaming fansite/news site/blog/etc? The reason for this thought process came from reading a few articles and blog entries on sites that will not be named. As I was reading it became immediately clear that what the authors had to say was, in my mind, so far from the truth that it was borderline deception. There was simply no way that the authors could come to the conclusions or opinions they had based on facts available on the topic. I know I’m being very cryptic but it is not my goal here to call people or websites out. What interests me more is the ideals behind what people have to say.

When you visit a gaming fansite or news site (Whatever you choose to call them) why are you there? Are you looking for information such as guides, to keep up on the latest, or to read what others have to say? If you’re like me then you go for all of those reasons and more. What is it that draws you back to those sites? Is it the quality of information, the speedy delivery of breaking news, or the opinions of what the editorial/article writers have to say? For the sake of this particular discussion let’s narrow it down and focus on what the journalists or writers, heck let’s even throw in bloggers (personal or tied to another site), have to say. Do you rely on them to keep their facts straight and do you trust that what they have to say is legit? Or, have you at least grown to respect them enough that when they write you will digest what they have to say without looking into it first? I know I’m posing a lot of questions here but bare with me. Would it matter to you if what you were reading was altered or fabricated to serve an ulterior motive? I’m asking these questions because it has become apparent that there are those out there knowingly compromising the truth for any number of motives.

As a writer, blogger, gamer, and as someone who always places the community first I’m personally dedicated to keeping it real. The thought would never even cross my mind for a moment to sugar coat, fudge, misconstrue, misrepresent, or knowingly deceive my readers. So why is it that some websites out there make this a regular practice? Revenue? Sponsors? If so then the entire basis for their existence has just dissolved into meaninglessness. Let me break this down a little more. If a game is released too soon with bugs and other flaws wouldn’t you expect someone reviewing or writing impressions about a game to say so? I’ve always been one to point out the good with the bad. Is that what the majority of the readership out there want or am I completely off base with my thought process? Would you continue to read a site if you knew this shady business was going on? I know I wouldn’t.

That’s why the “blogosphere” is so spectacular. You have a society of people writing for the sake of writing! I really know of no blogger who runs their own personal blog out there dedicated to making the industry smell like roses. People write what’s on their minds, what they did that day in their games, that their class was nerfed, that somoene scammed them, or that they hit the max level. Bloggers write their honest thoughts and opinions on press releases, patches, and anything that they feel is worthy enough to increase their chances of carpal tunnel. I hope he doesn’t mind my using him as an example, but look at Tobold. There’s a guy who has built himself a reputation for being a well spoken blogger who always seems to have an opinion worthy of his readership. You know what he has to say is always being said for one reason – it’s how he feels. You may not always agree with what he has to say but you certainly can not deny that it’s an honest opinion. Bloggers can be taken at face value without the worry or thought towards an agenda.

So there you have it, that’s my random rant for the evening. It’s my honest belief that bloggers are slowly taking the lead over other gaming sources. If I have made an accurate assumption then a good majority of people respect and want the truth or at the very least a real opinion. I’m not sure why but I feel this sense of pride that there are so many great writers out there willing to share their honest opinions and encourage others to do the same. Shame on those out there seeking to do otherwise.

Have a good weekend! I’m off to watch the rest of the game.

Back in Norrath

It took a little research, soul searching, and convincing myself, but I finally decided that I wanted to go back and play more Everquest 2.  Lately I’ve been in a real MMO funk – in fact for more than a month.  With Lord of the Rings becoming stale and being put out to pasture I found that all I had to play was TF2, Nwn2, and a few other games on the side.  Since I am a heart a MMO’er I would find myself on some random message board (usually EQ2) reading what other players were doing or had to say… I know it’s like the looking out watching hte other kids play… somewhat depressing, haha.

I’m back in Norrath and for how long I am completely unsure.  I know that I have always enjoyed the gameplay of EQ2 and the world is nothing short of massive and spectacular.  The big problem for me has always been that lack of community or group of like-minded players to support me.  I give up looking and retire my account and move on.  This time I am going to make it my first priority to establish a group of friends somewhere and just enjoy the game for enjoyment’s sake.  If I play for a month and all I see are the first 20 levels at least I will be able to look at it and say “Hey, I enjoyed that”.  In keeping with this theory, I created a Conjuror last night on the Antonia Bayle server.  AB has always been my main server and I have some items and a little bit of money (little under a plat) to play with.  My Conjuror is a Gnome in Kelethin and I have always enjoyed playing with the little Fae’s.

This morning Tipa from West Karana told me about the Nagafen PvP server and a guild her friend runs there that caters to newer players looking to have a good time.  Lucky for me right after Tipa posted Lishian (the friend with the guild) left a comment on how I can get in touch with them.  Since I have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain I’ve decided that for the time being I’m going to give Nagafen a whirl.  If I like PvP and the guild is a match for me then I’ve found my place – if not then I simply keep looking and enjoy the game!  Since I’ve never really done much EQ2 PvPing this should be interesting…


Jaffa Cree!

Yeah, I’m one of “those”. I own every season of Stargate SG-1 on DVD, I’ve seen them all, I watch it in syndication on Sci-Fi, and I wept when Jack O’neill (that’s with 2 L’s) left the show. Did you know there’s a Stargate MMO in the works? Well if you didn’t, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment is developing Stargate Worlds which is currently still a very long ways off from release. Since the game is so ridiculously far off in production and it’s likely not going to see a release until sometime late 2008 or 2009 I only browse the website a few times a month for updates. This morning happened to be one of those times and right on the front page they have an article on the Goa’uld.

Some guy from MMORPG.com sat down with Keith Cross at E For All and was given all kinds of really cool information regarding the Goa’uld in Stargate Worlds. What’s a Goa’uld you ask? It’s a snake-like parasite that burrows into people’s necks, mouths, chests, or anywhere convenient to attach itself to the brain stem of its host assuming total control. They’re megalomaniacal, self-centered, sarcastic, evil selfish “rat bastards” bent on total domination with a god complex like you’ve never seen. Now do you understand why I like them so much? Stargate Worlds is taking these Goa’uld and expanding upon them like the fans of the series have only ever seen once before (think Bhaal). Instead of the Goa’uld sitting on their throne enslaving planets and bragging about how awesome they are, they’re going to be a new breed of Goa’uld who have learned from their mistakes. In SG:W, the Goal’uld aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and actually do the work themselves. If you know anything about Bhaal (a Goa’uld) then you know that intelligent and rather cunning Goa’uld can be some of the most deadly. The article goes on to talk about how in SG:W these Goa’uld aren’t simply new in frame of mind but they have a new queen and a new favored architecture and have become asgardmore individualistic. I can understand the changes.

According to Keith Cross the main story is set in motion by these new Goa’uld. I’m ecstatic; the Goa’uld are really that cool. Dressing up as Egyption or Greek or any type of gods and only caring about yourself would be a spectacular approach to a character in a MMORPG. And yes, you CAN play Goa’uld! Players can be Humans, good or bad; Jaffa, free or loyal; Asgard (heck yeah!), and of course, a Goa’uld. The changes mentioned before were necessary to make the Goa’uld playable and not just NPC’s. I for one can easily accept this new breed of “snake-heads” because to me this is how Bhaal has always been. And guess what? Goa’uld are the main PET CLASS! Haha, how awesome is that?! If you play one you’ll be able to command Jaffa. I’m in nerd heaven right now. It’s not set in stone yet but it’s being said that you play the actual parasite/snake itself and not the humanoid body – So you can SWITCH HOSTS!

So although SG:W is still being developed and far from release, we’re able to see that they are taking the necessary steps to adapt the story into an experience that will truly be epic in MMORPG scale. I’m hoping that this one will see the light of day unlike so many other unlucky MMOs.