It’s October – and we’re just past the 9 month mark for this years BCC Reading Challenges. Time flies a little too quickly when you’re having reading (and gaming) fun, so I’m a bit behind where I’d hoped to be.
I’ve tagged the books listed below with a rough indication of which challenge they apply to: G is the General 100 books challenge, H is for the 24 Horror/Urban Fantasy Books challenge, and M is for the 12 Mystery/Suspense books challenge.
Cornelia Funke – The Inkheart Series (just book 1 and 2):
Inkheart and Inkspell (G 1 & 2)
Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy Series (6 books):
Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice.
(G 3 to 8 , H 1 to 6).
Stephanie Meyer – The short second life of Bree Tanner. (G 9, H 7 )
Kelley Armstrong – The Darkest Powers Trilogy:
The Summoning, The Awakening, The Reckoning (G 10 to 12, H 8 to 10)
Steven King - The Stand, Hearts in Atlantis, Insomnia, and Under The Dome (G 13 to 16, H 11 to 14)
Douglas Adams – Dirk Gently Series books 1 and 2:
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul. (G 17 and 18, M 1 and 2)
Kristin Cashore – Graceling (Seven Kingdoms Trilogy Book 1). (G 19, H 15)
Lincoln Preston – Pendergast Series Books 1 and 2:
Relic, and Reliquary (G 20 and 21, H 16 and 17, M 3 and 4)
Karin Slaughter – Grant Country Series 1 – 4:
Blindsighted, Kisscut, A Faint Cold Fear, and Indelible. (G 22 to 25, M 5 to 8 )
LJ Smith – The Secret Circle Series:
The Initiation, The Captive, and The Power. (G 26 to 28).
Maggie Furey – Artifacts of Power Series:
Aurian, Harp of Winds, The Sword of Flame, and Dhiammara (G 29 to 32)
Anne McAffrey – The Acorna Series books 1 to 5 (with Margaret Ball and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough)
Acorna, Acorna’s Quest, Acorna’s People, Acorna’s World, and Acorna’s Search. (G 33 to 37)
David Eddings – The Mallorean Series (books 1 and 2 so far):
Guardians of the West, King of the Murgos. (G 38 and 39)
So, my current stats are 39 /100 read for the main challenge, 17/24 for the Horror and Urban Fantasy challenge, and 8/12 for the Mystery and Suspense Challenge. With three months still to go, I don’t see any problem with completing the two smaller challenges, but the full 100 books is looking quite out of reach. Still, if I could hit the 60 mark, this would still be a big improvement over last year!
Anyone else doing the challenge? How are you getting on?
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There are so many games on my games watch now I’m a little scared. I have a number of titles already bought as part of my Birthday presents and these are the ones I’m keeping my eyes on:
Star Wars The Old Republic
I’ve actually already pre-purchased this one and I’m really looking forward to it. One of the things that is exciting me about it is the game includes the excellent Bioware companion system used in some of their other RPG’s. Can’t wait to see this and expereince the story all within my fave MMO environment. Should be a classic.
A great mix of Borderlands style with TF2 teamwork wrapped together into an MMo world. Free to play, can it get any more exciting than that…
Guild Wars 2
Obviously this games has been on my list now since I played the original for nearly a year. I dont want to get to excited about it until I get a release date, but trust me this one will be a monster hit. Both Ame and myself had the chance to play this hands on at “Eurogamer Expo” recently and it is as good to play as I expected (maybe a little better). Boss fights were epic and underwater combat feels great.
Looking very cool and probably a game I have to pick up and play at some point, although with all of the other games I’m watching it may have to take a back seat, we shall see.
This game is not actually on my list of games to play, but I know that Ame is desperate to play it and will probably be getting a new PC because of this one. Based on previous instalments of the series if you like open world single player RPG’s then you gotta try this.
This is just a taste of some of the gameplay that I’m looking forward to in the coming months.
Just a quick post birthday update to explain where all my spare time is going…
I have a number of new games now to play, which is usually the situation at this time of year when I have no idea what to spend my Birthday money on. I may have too many games, time will tell.
As well as my old fave lotro I have the new space marine mentioned in a previous post. I also bought a copy of Aliens V Predator (on steam for less than £4, as one of my friends said the other day it would be rude not to buy it). This is turning out to be great fun particularly for the price.
I pre-ordered Star wars the old republic as well, but will have to wait till the end of the year for that one. I also re-bought (on steam as I couldn’t find the disk) Knights of the Old Republic, just to refresh myself with the old republic universe.
The cheapest of my new games is Vindictus, which was totally free to download and play. Woot!. I’ve been waiting all year to play this and its not disappointing me, I havn’t played anything else since I downloaded it.
Quick vid to show what its like:
Who knows which of my current batch of games is going to attract most of my time between now and the Star Wars release… I can’t call it at the moment.
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Back in December 2010 I had Space Marine on my Games Watch and now its finally landed.
I’ve been playing for a couple of weeks now and I’m absolutely loving it. Its mix of melee and ranged fighting is so much fun I have found it very difficult to put it down.
The game comes with a great campaign with just the right mix of fighting and story, but the big surprise for me is how much fun I’m having in the multi player.
It has two modes, a simple death match mode and a capture the flag mode like TF2. Both of the modes are 8v8, but the teams are shuffled after every round, so if your team gets pwned one round then the next is usually a different story.
The death match is a simple first to 41 kills, very simple but so much fun when tension (and the ingame music) builds as one of the teams gets near to 41. I’m not the best when it comes to reaction shooters, but even with my limited skills I find that I’m contributing to the overall team score nicely and seldom do I feel like the complete noob that I am.
The “capture the control flag” mode uses the same maps as the deathmatch but adds three or four capture areas that when taken over give your team a point boosts these point boosts add up untill one team reaches 1000. The more capture areas you have under your control the faster your points go up. Again, nice and simple, but very effective in building tension.
In both modes your online persona gains XP for kills, capturing points and earning achievements these XP points add up until you level up. After every level you gain rewards to make yourself tougher and inprove your weapons.
On top of all this I understand we will be getting a co-op survival mode too in a few weeks, which also sounds like great fun.
Looking at my current play stats Space Marine is not far behind lotro, so its really capturing my attention at the moment.
PS. Just prior to getting my hands on Space Marine I downloaded Deux Ex, but its not captured my attention and is currently on my digital shelf gathering dust.
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How long has it been since my last update. Time is flying by as both myself and Ame pile hundreds of hours into Lotro. (At time of writing this 1150 hours for me, which is by far my most played game of all time)
Where can I start in describing this awesome game, made more awesome by the great friends we have made.
Here are some of the friends we made in our early days in the Pure Hearts Kin:
I think its fair to say that the increase of awesomeness started around mid May when a fairly normal request of help in evendim from a player called “Steviethesolid” transformed our normal two player gameplay into an amazing mix of 3/6 and even 12 person instances.
Ame and I always felt that instances were beyond our reach, both from a class dedication point of view and also from a skills perspective. We thought that these “raiders” were a bunch of elite gamers and we would never aspire to these giddy heights in our lifetime.
How wrong we were…
So as I was saying, Stevie was asking for some help with her “solid” guardian in Evendim and Ame and I joined her for a few sessions getting to know her and really enjoying the light questing. During this time we continued to level our characters from their early 40′s until their early 50′s, totally oblivious of what was in store.
As Ame hit 54 on her Lore Master and I hit 52 on my Rune Keeper we were invited by Stevie’s partner Ebron (Ebs) to the “Grand Stairs” Instance. I hope Ebs wont mind me saying but when it comes to running instances he is soooo patient and is able to not only guide the team but make everyone feel like they are doing a great job. This type of organisation and patience is a rare skill and something that should not be overlooked. Had it not been for Ebs I’m not sure we would have ever had the confidence to get started down this road.
From the Grand Stairs we then made our way through many instances, mostly run by Ebs, but with a few run by another good friend Lestat. For the following three months we started to learn our classes much better and are now completely hooked on the whole “End Game”, little did we realise that grouping with friends at max level could be so entertaining.
I’m sure we will continue to group with friends in the future in lotro and hopefully in the upcoming Star Wars MMO (separate post on that to follow).
Hopefully it wont be so long between posts next time.
During my time in lotro I have had heard quite a few mispronunciations. I would defy anyone to name all of the places in Forochel correctly, but a couple of the mispronunciations were amusing and kinda stuck and have been used as a re-occurring joke between us.
Here is a couple from Nixie and X, there will probably be more before we are finished.
The Eglain from the lone lands was one mispronounced by Nixie as Egg land (where the Egglain live). From then on it has foreever been known as Eggland…
The Mathoms are prized hobbit trinkets and are used to hand in for reputation in the Shire. X once said Mammoths and we never let him forget it.
Maybe these things are only funny amongst our close online friends, but still worth a post as it will be something for us to remember later down the line.
Those who know Ame and I will know that several weeks ago we joined the awesome Kin “Pure Heart” on the Eldar server. It took us months to decide which kin to join as we wanted to make the right decision from the start and not be hopping from Kin to Kin till we found our home.
We have been very happy with our choice and even more so now that we have attended our first Kin Party. So on to the events of the “Pure Heart Party 5th June 2011″, the start of the event was for us all to meet in the Green Dragon pub in Bywater. It was all very exciting as we sampled the local beers available behind the bar, but also the delights handed out by our very own Ame and Avaldur (who for most of the event was indulging in some entertaining cross dressing, screen shots to follow). I didn’t get any shots of the early parts of the party due to (in the words of the old guy from the fast show) being “very very drunk”…
The first event was to try and track down Avaldur on his way to Michel Delving. He was given a couple of minutes head start and then we all set off from the pub. After searching the coutryside for a few minutes we were given the happy news that Ame had won the first event… Gratz Ame, I was miles away my this time. We then had a few hide and seek rounds and a drunken conga line back to Bywater, which was pretty amazing.
We then ended up with trying to get to the top of the prancing pony. I made it by jumping up the hill at a certain angle, but it took about fifty attempts. Oh my. We must have been quite a sight to see at this point as we had somewhere in the region of 20-30 of us stampeding through the streets of Bree. The next task was to get to the top of the Aution House in South Bree. Which involved a series of dangerous jumps and tightrope walks, but eventually after about half an hours perseverance I made it:
After enjoying a beer I tried to find a safe way down, easier said than done:
We then gathered around the campfire to tell tall tales and listen to some rousing music:
We then had another music session in the Mess hall and then another in the Kin house before eventually moving on to a mad game of Freezetag. The freezetag was so muchy fun I actually forgot to take screenshots, we had a great laugh and will be looking forward to other events like this in the future.
Hats off to Elithwen, Avaldur and the other Pure Heart leaders for an amazing evenings fun. Lets hope we have many more in the future.
It’s never easy being away from home. It’s the little things you miss the most – doing farm chores with friends…
stargazing on a clear night….
bumping into very large dragons….
Ok – maybe not that last one! But even with the possibility of being barbecued, Middle Earth’s still a wondrous place. And although two days away isn’t that long, it’s still enough time to start missing friends, kinnies and all the adventures you can have there.
Still, there is good news. The plucky hobbits of the Quick Post have been scurrying back and forth with updates, and it seems that the move is going well. With any luck, the servers will be back up by the weekend and we can get back to making our name amongst the peoples of Middle Earth.
So – anyone else missing LOTRO?
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Today is the last day for Lotro in Europe. All of our characters will be carefully moved from their home in Europe to America. We expect to experience downtime of 2-3 days so I’m more than a little nervous about the move. I have spent time thinking about the extra latency from client to server, I have thought about what would happen if I lost my characters, all sorts of problems have been spinning through my mind, but this is just because of how much time I have put into my characters.
On the positive side (and I’m sure it will all be fine and positive is the way to go), we will be gaining access to the same store offers that I read about in Casual Stroll to Mordor. We will also be eligible for the Turbine lotteries and the Turbine forums, so we have plenty to look forward to.
Spent last night doing a very challenging Garth Agarwen Small fellowship quest with “X” and “Nixie” (I can’t remember the name, but there was a huge tree and lots of bees). We failed quite badly, but enjoyed in none the less.
I then spent a moment at my house with “Ame” and “Mango” and Ame’s pet “Bagpuss”, contemplating life in Middle earth. Bagpuss was getting quite comfortable on the bearskin rug.
Well lets hope everything goes ok with the move.
As you can clearly see, the number of updates to the blog have tailed off quite a lot. This is in the most part due to the Lord of the Rings, as it has consumed both Ame and I.
We are playing this game exclusively despite that fact that Guild Wars was our game of 2010 and that with Guild Wars 2 coming we could be spending time with the hall of monuments building up items for Guild Wars 2. In fact we love lotro so much that we are even considering not playing Guild Wars 2 when it comes out.
I now have 540 hours in Lotro this year and I can’t see a time where I wont be playing it. I have 5 characters and still can’t decide which one of them is my main. Both the Minstrel and the Rune Keeper are an excellent mix of Healer and DPS and both are great to solo and to group.
I was thinking that during the last few months I have had some good times with friends and its about time that I posted some screen shots to show what I’ve been up to.
This is a screen shot of Ame, Galadhae and Ghorix during the early days of playing lotro. Nice little capture this as this is NPC talk that looks like its a comment being made by Galadhae.
Next up we have Ghorix ( or “X” as we call him) sitting on a throne looking all dwarfy and regal.
Ame showing off now that she has a sword and staff (just like Gandalf):
My Rune Keeper deciding if attacking an Elite master dragon would be a good thing to do:
My RK looking menacing:
My Minstrel showing off his awesome new Mathom Reputation mount and his “Cloak of Cluck” (that was earned by running through the lands of Middle Earth as a chicken… Dont ask!!):
Will try and keep the screenshots flowing.