Expect the Unexpected

Posted by Sugoll Mythbeast on March 18, 2011

Before I get started I would just like to throw out some excuses for why I haven’t been updating regularly.  I have had two massive pulls on my time over the last couple of months and these things combined have wiped the floor with all other things in my life.  The first is work, which has been particularly intense and the second is the reason for the post.

I was fully expecting to be playing Star Trek at the beginning of 2011.  I had re-subscribed and spent the first part of January loving the game, the changes that had been made were great and I was back in the zone.

Then as the title of this posts suggests the unexpected was around the corner.  I started to dabble a bit further with “The Lord of the Rings Online” (forever to be referred to as lotro)  and to my surprise I found myself logging in early in a morning, late at night and (as is always the case when a game consumes me) dreaming about it.

I had to ask myself why it was having this affect on me. I played it at the back end of 2010 and although it was good I would not have considered it a game to subscribe to.  It was free so I thought there was no harm in trying, but didnt feel it had the Guild Wars or Star Trek appeal. Maybe I was too settled in my Guild Wars ways and that once I got out of the habit of guild wars, lotro just clicked, I’m not sure what it was but for the last couple of months (or so) I have done nothing but work, sleep and lotro.

Lotro has even started to invade my once a day habit of watching some sort of TV series (currently Series 3 of Farscape) I’ve found myself thinking I have half an hour free shall I watch the next episode or potter along with a bit of crafting and to my complete surprise I’m going with crafting…

What makes this even more surprising is that in all other games I’ve played I found crafting to be tedious and in the words of Austin Powers “Not my Bag Baby”.  However in Lotro I find it to be a relaxing and rewarding pastime.  The other thing thats different about lotro is the number of alts I have felt inclined to make.  Here they all are as at 18th March 2011:

  • Level 28 Dwarf Rune-Keeper
  • Level 28 Human Minstrel
  • Level 24 Elf Lore-Master
  • Level 18 Dwarf Champion
  • Level 13 Hobbit Hunter

I will try and explain why I have this many alts and also the thinking behind them.  My first character was the Lore-master as I felt that after my totally enjoyable DPS’ing with the Necromancer in Guild Wars I might be becoming a primary DPS player.  I also thought in contrast to that I would create myself a Champion and see how the Melee DPS compared to the Ranged DPS.

I really tried to get in tune with the Melee character, but I was playing him in a group and found that I was running around trying to get hits in whilst the DPS’ers pulled all the mobs (this was not much fun at all).  I then tried him as a  solo character, but found the lack of healing and losing the ability to pull the enemy I wanted to me was limiting my gameplay, so I stopped playing him at level 18 and I can’t see me bringing him back out any time soon.

The Lore-Master was going great, I wanted a character that I could put to one side and play with my regular Wednesday night group (Mango, X and Ame) and this fella was turning out to be it.  I was really enjoying the pet dynamics too.  Then, like the sun coming over the horizon I re-discovered my love for primary healing characters.  How could I have forgotten the hundreds of hours playing as a TF2 medic and the joy it used to bring. How could I have forgotton my amazing Runepriest in Warhammer online… Doh!!!

Medic and Runepriest

Medic and Runepriest

So my minstrel was born into the lotro world and he quickly caught up and passed all my other characters getting to level 25 extremely fast.  At the back of my mind I actually wanted to try out the Rune-Keeper, but seeing as he was in an expansion and I still wasn’t sure if lotro was going to be my primary game I carried on with the Minstel.  I managed to resist the temptation for quite a few weeks, but eventually gave in and bought Moria expansion and rolled my Rune-Keeper and I was not disappointed.  Within two weeks he had caught up to my Minstrel and he has now become my main.  I’m using him for Solo play and Duo play with Ame, but also for group play with the usual Wednesday night crew.

Loving the Lotro and hopefully I can spare a bit of levelling time now to doing some blogging about it.

Sugoll.

 

 

Topics: Games, Lord of the Rings Online | Comments Off

Boldly Returning

Posted by Sugoll Mythbeast on January 18, 2011

When I put together my 2010 review I was pondering over why I had given up playing Star Trek Online.  It was such a thrill to fly around in various cool looking spaceships engaging with Klingons and Borg I had to think hard about what it was that caused me to leave it.  As soon as it sank in that the reason was that there wasnt enough content and that in the 9 months I had been away that the content had increased there seemed little option but to consider a re-subscription.

I was right in the middle of my deliberations (changing main game for me is a big step and one not to be taken lightly) and I read the quick years summary from Brian over at Blue Kae.  That review talking about the user generated content and the added sector areas meant it was at least worth a months subscription to check out what has changed.

I was not disappointed to find everything I loved about the old game, but with more things to do, so for now I’m absolutely loving it.  Really love the look of the new sector space without the grid:

When I saw this video I was also reminded that STO allows you to overlay your own music over the game using the in built music player, so I could play my extensive drum and bass collection whilst cleansing the universe of evil aliens.

So based on playing whatever takes my fancy on an evening I seem to be well and truly back in my spaceship.  In the last week I’ve played STO more than twice as much as anything else, even though I played a long Sunday session of Lotro with Ame and my good friend Mango.

Can’t wait for the user generated “foundry” content to release onto the live server, this could take sto in a totally new direction.

Sugoll.

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A Reading Challenge

Posted by Ame Mythbeast on January 10, 2011

I’ve always loved reading. I come from a family of bookworms, and started devouring books  at an early age. So when I saw the post on Falcata Times about the reading challenges at Book Chick City, it caught my interest straight away.

There are three challenges – read 100 books, read 12 Mystery/Suspense books, and read 24 Horror/Urban Fantasy novels, each by the end of 2011. You can combine these, so the 12/24 genre specific books will contribute towards the 100 book challenge. For more details, I’ve included slinkies below, or you can use the Challenge adverts shown on the side bar.

100 Books in 2011

12 Mystery/Suspense Books in 2011

24 Horror / Urban Fantasy Books in 2011.

Averaging out at two books per week, this may prove tricky, and is definitely contrary to my “get more fresh air” goal for this year! However I can see a great deal of enjoyment coming from this. There is also the opportunity to post reviews, so it will also be interesting to see what other participants are reading.

There is also a Stephen King Challenge which I may sign up for – I only re-read the Dark Tower series a couple of months ago, otherwise this challenge would have been perfect – but a reshuffle of my TBR list just might give me the minimum six books to have a go.

So, anyone else joining in?

Ame.

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That was the year that was…

Posted by Sugoll Mythbeast on January 2, 2011

2010 in gaming

Well we have come to the end of the year and what a great gaming year it has been.  Thoroughly enjoyed my time in many games this year and thought it worthwhile having a small re-cap on the years events.

The start of the year was dominated by Star Trek online, I was in the open BETA for this due to pre-purchasing it and really enjoyed both the BETA and the early release of the game.  The space combat had some of the most original and enjoyable gameplay I’ve come across in years.   Full marks to Cryptic for taking an IP from a bankrupt developer and getting something to release in super quick time.  Big downers to the publishers Atari for forcing Cryptic into this extremely tight release so that by the time the game launched the content was great, but there was just not enough of it.  I managed to get to max level in a very short space of time and effectively just ran out of missions.  My view is that this game was about 6-9 months too early and would have probably kept my interest if it had released with more to do.  I still managed to rack up nearly 300 hours in the game so its up there in my most played games of all time list and I still get tempted to get back into it, but the expensive subscription and the pushing of in game shop items is just holding me back.

Had a go at Dragon Age Origins (during my time with Star Trek), but it only kept my interest for around 30 hours, which was a little disappointing as I thought it would be a life stealer.  The things I liked were the story and the characters, the things I didnt like were having to talk to everyone in the party to “Get them on your side” and the pausing during combat.  In fact now I think about it I really disliked this feature, if I wanted to play turn based gaming I get out my Warhammer figures (GASP!!).  Its a shame that I found these two things annoying as there is so much potential in this series and there are a lot of people out there that love it.  Don’t think I will bother with DA2 unless they fix what I don’t like and I’m not expecting them to.

What can I say about Guild Wars, absolutely love the story, the presentation (for such an old game), the combat, everything here hits the nail on the head for me.  I even like the payment model which is to buy things in installments (like a singple player game), with a shop that has truly optional items in it.  In some cases I bought things in order to support Arenanet.  I really like the company and I really love the game.  This is actually my most played game of all time at over 650 hours gameplay.  Started playing this in May 2010 and still haven’t put it down yet.  I get the occasional frustration when I hit some difficult content, but other than that this is one hell of a game.

Will be buying Guild Wars 2 as soon as I’m able to.

I’ve been playing left4dead and left4dead 2 with the same groiup of friends now (Me, Ame, Mango and X) for as long as I can remember, we have a wednesday night session and sometimes another at a weekend.  The only problem we have is that the content is starting to get a little stale.  So I spent most of this year keeping my eye out for alternatives.  During the last quarter of 2009 we found Borderlands and that was a blast for the four of us, I managed to rack up around 150 hours in that baby, before we completed it and didnt really have any motivation to replay or buy the expansions.

So what were we going to choose as our 2010 l4d alternative.  Its not as easy as it sounds to find an entertaining coop shooter for the four of us.  Damn you Valve for making your games so good that we can;t replace you.

In the end I introduced the lads to  Guild Wars and we did enjoy our time in the game, but a combination of work related commitments and sometimes only having an hour or so to play kept us from really getting our teeth into it as a team.  So off I went in search of something a little bit more shooter based.  Where was this years Borderlands…  The coop shooter arena seemed like a bit of a ghost town, then along came Valve with a little gem of a game to spice things up.

Alien swarm was actually a great little game which fit our commitment and play styles perfectly.  Lots of shooting a little bit of planning and teamwork and eeek facehuggers.  Can’t go wrong, or so I thought.  GASP!! There was only 15 hours of gameplay for us in this.  I wantz more valve, where is the paid campaign for it… Alas, Alien Swarm is now gathering dust on my virtual steam shelf and we moved back to left4dead for a while.  I thought there might be light at the end of the tunnel when I heard that Alien Breed was available on steam as a paid game with similar gameplay, but its only 2 player coop now four, so no hope there.

This was probably everyone’s surprise game of 2010, it certainly surprised me.  I remember one of my friends (Lukey from Chilled-Out-Gamers) linked it to me weeks before the game hit big time and I had a quick looked as dismissed it as 8 bnit nonsense.  Then the blogging community started to rave about how addictive it was and that once you try you will be stuck for hours.  I still resisted until Shawn of GuildCast started talking about how he was resisting it too.  I finally gave in to peer pressure and bought it, after all it was less than £10 to buy, so how good/addictive could it be.

Well I found out pretty quickly and it totally took over my gaming for several weeks.  Loved the whole logo type feel to it.  I built up, dug down and thoroughly enjoyed my time with it.  I’m pretty much over it now, with a slim chance of playing it in 2011, but you never know.  I did however spread the love when it comes to this and my good wife (Ame) and one of my mates from work (Sheps) are still playing it avidly.  My bad, for pimping games again…

Other games

There were a few also ran titles I played in 2010 (some of which were bought in a pack with games I actually wanted).  The list includes games that were either only played for a short while or played towards the back end of the year, so their stats didnt quite impact.  These are:

Dirt 2

Beat Hazard

Bioshock

Clive Barkers Jericho

Global Agenda

Grid

Machinarium

Zen Bound 2

Rise of the Argonauts

Team Fortress 2

Burnout Paradise

The Lord Of The Rings Online

Batman: Arkham Asylum

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Sucker Punch

Posted by Sugoll Mythbeast on December 31, 2010

If you don’t know anything about Sucker Punch yet, its time to do your research.

This movie has just about everything that makes a good comic book (yet its not based on one).  We have robots, ninjas, dragons, nazi’s and kick-ass heroines with guns… All directed by the awesome Zack Snyder, who if you didnt know directed Watchmen and 300.

Here is a taste of this freaking top drawer movie which will be out in March, I’m sooooo going to the cinema to see this one.

Sugoll.

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Games Watch #3

Posted by Sugoll Mythbeast on December 31, 2010

A couple of action games have fallen under my gaze over the last couple of weeks.  Both of which are looking like 2011 release, but it does no harm to keep watching.

Warhammer 40k Space Marine

How can this image not instil in any human the dread of battle and the horror of galactic war:

Space Marine

Space Marine

I’ve not seen a lot on this game so far, but what I have seen looks pretty darn good. See trailer below:

Firefall

This is a team based action shooter that really captured my imagination, it has some common elements to the Space Marine game about, in fact that rocket jump is a move almost identical to the 40k Dawn of War RTS game I played. However it also has a look and feel similar to Borderlands which was a bit of a RPG shooter cross-over.  Definitely one to keep my eye on in the coming weeks. Here is a look at the cinematic trailer:

This is a trailer showing some of the gameplay, looks pretty shiny to me. :)

More details can be found at the Firefall official website http://www.firefallthegame.com/

Will be keeping my eye out for more info on these two.

Sugoll.

Topics: Games, Games Watch | Comments Off

Where have I been…

Posted by Sugoll Mythbeast on December 30, 2010

Its been ages since my last post.  I feel like I’ve really neglected the place.  A couple of reasons for this, firstly I have been quite busy playing games and didnt really feel motivated to post, but then over Christmas I’ve been quite ill.

I managed to get the worst flu ever and it really interupted both my work and leisure time. I’ve actually been too unwell to use the computer at all which is not like me.

Anyway onto lighter things, I’ll do a quick update on what I have been playing these last few weeks.

Guild Wars

Guild Wars

Still playing guild wars quite a lot, although I seem to have hit a bit of a brick wall in terms of progressing with both Cantha (Factions) and Elona (Nightfall).

As far as Cantha is concerned me and Ame have reached the final mission to defeat Shiro.  This is proving to be quite tough and I hate the bits in Guild Wars that are quite tough.  I just wish I could go away and level up a bit then come back and kick his ass, but alas I hit max level months ago.  I really don’t want to have to spend ages reading wiki pages and customising my party and build in order to just finish the darn thing.  So with frustration setting in I had a chat with Ame and we decided we would move on to Elona and come back to Shiro at a later date.

We completed another few missions of Elona content and reached the mission where you have to close the rift gates in the Grand court of Sebelkeh, I’ve now had a couple of goes at this and its proving to be another challenge.  Not sure I can really be bothered to put the effort in to research what to do, so again I’m at a bit of a block.

My choice is to knuckle down and get these missions done or move on to Eye of the North for a while to see how that goes.  With the other games I have at the moment I don’t think I can cope with the effort needed. :(  Lets hope I change my mind as I really really like guild Wars.

The Lord of the Rings Online (Lotro)

The Lord Of The Rings Online

I’ve been putting off looking at Lotro for some time as I didn’t want to distract myself from Guild Wars, but the free to download and play temptation finally took its toll.  I’m trying out several classes and I’m not sure which one to play.  I have the following at the moment:

a level 8 Burglar (Man)
a level 10 Champion (Dwarf)
a level 12 Minstrel (Man)
a level 13 Lore Master (Elf)

The Lore Master is dedicated to playing with Ame and the Champion is dedicated to playing with a group of friends, but my fave character at the moment is the minstrel as he is the only class that allows for an effective self heal.

I’m loving the game so far, but still not sure if it will become my main game, I guess it depends on whether I get totally stuck in Guild Wars.  Time will tell on that…

One thing I do like about Lotro is the environment, its just plain gorgeous, the controls are not as snappy as GW in combat as I often have moments where I swear I clicked on a skill but the skill just doesn’t activate.  I guess I’ve been spoilt on that score because of how responsive Guild Wars is.

Loving the crafting of Lotro though, its made me wonder why there isnt something similar in Guild Wars, I’m sure the chaps at Arenanet are paying attention and something will get included in GW2.

All in all Lotro is a great game and no-one can complain with the price of it. :)  Will keep updating as to whether GW or Lotro becomes my MMo of choice.

Burnout Paradise

Burnout Paradise

Picked up this awesome game in the steam sales.  I actually already own this on the PS3, but these days that only gets booted up when I want to watch a DVD with the family.  You see the PS3 is attached to the big tele and thats not in our computer room, so to play Burnout meant leaving Ame playing in the study and going into the main room.  I found this to be totally anti-social, so with Burnout on offer for £3.75, yes thats right less than four pounds for one of the most fun driving games I have ever played I had to buy it.

Been flying round the city totally loving it.  Got my money’s worth out of this one already. :)

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Another great value steam sale item.  This game has been on my list for some time, but I have been reluctant to pay full price for it as I was unsure if it was going to be my type of game.  When it came down to £7.49 it was a must buy.  I’m only a couple of levels into it, but I’m really enjoying it so far.  There have been a couple of technical issues with it as I occasionally get a freeze of the graphics and I have had a couple of crashes, but its not stopping my enjoyment.  I’ll have a look sometime and see if there are updated drivers required for my graphics card.

The story I’m finding to be really entertaining and the Joker and Harlequin characters are particularly well done.  Combat is responsive and fun, particularly the slow motion last action you get when you defeat a mob.  Not really got the hand of the combo system yet, but I’m playing on easy so I might not bother with that unless required

Well, thats about it for an update.  Its taken me a while to finish this post, but at least I got there in the end.

Sugoll.

Topics: Games, Guild Wars | Comments Off

Finally I have multi-player ass kicking mayhem

Posted by Sugoll Mythbeast on November 22, 2010

Whilst waiting for Vindictus and needing some kick ass action I accidentally stumbled upon a game I absolutely loved from my past. Dynasty Warriors…  Both Ame and I played this to death on the PS2.

So seeing as this latest instalment is online and completely free to download and play I though I would give it a whirl.  The instant I booted up the game I was confronted with the same characters and the familiar guitar riffs. All those old memories came flooding back.

Here is a quick trailer to get those Chinese Warlord juices flowing:

The one downside (if there can be a downside to a game this awesome), is that its a little confusing finding your way around the town/hub system, I found myself wandering around quite a bit trying to find things, so for this reason I created a map as a guide.

DWO Town Map (Small)

DWO Town Map (Small)

Click here for a larger version.

Well, I can’t hang around here forever, there are a few thousand Wei supporters out there that need to be taught a lesson. :)

Sugoll.

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I finally made it!

Posted by Ame Mythbeast on November 9, 2010

Hello!

Well, I made it. A little late to the party perhaps, but still dolled up and ready to dance. Of course, Sugoll’s been strutting his stuff already, but what can I say – he’s faster at doing his make-up then I am :P

So, where to start with my first post?

Top of my priority list at the moment is NaNoWrimo.  This is a writing challenge, with a target of writing 50K words between the 1st and 30th November. You can write about anything you like – as long as you write. The internal editor gets turned off, it doesn’t matter if you splurge rubbish on the page where you’d normally agonize for hours over the best way to describe a scene. Reading, revising, restructuring all come after the end of November, when you’ve hopefully got the shiny little badge that says “winner”.

This event gets bigger and bigger every year, and has a great community spirit – there’s support and inspirational ideas for meeting your goal in the official forums, plus local “write-ins” where you can meet up with other local participants, and “word wars” – where you battle with others to try and write the most in a set amount of time.

I promised myself 2010 would be the year I complete the challenge – I’ve known about the event since 2007, but every November since has been a complete wash-out. Unfortunately, between the wedding, and some unforeseen overtime, it looks like I might hit the same problems again, at least at the start of the month. I’m already more than a week behind (and it’s only the 9th!), and haven’t yet even sketched out how my idea is going to evolve. Some people can just sit down and the words will flow – and I can do this with short pieces – but I think for a project of this size I need some guidelines.

Luckily, I’ve found a great community of writers on the Kelley Armstrong forums who share advice and experiences freely – including Kelley herself. I’m more of a lurker than a contributor at the moment – but they’re a very welcoming bunch. I’m going to be using the advice they give – which includes a series of articles written by Kelley Armstrong to help get people started with plot line and character development – to kick start my first real attempt at completing NaNo. Hopefully, the next time I post, it will be to show some progress, and run through some of the highs and lows I know are on the way.

Ame.

Topics: NaNoWriMo, Writing | Comments Off

Team Fortress 2 has moved on…

Posted by Sugoll Mythbeast on November 8, 2010

Smaug's Stash

My RPG Stash

Although I have been hiding away in my little RPG cave with my massive stash of gold over the last 6 months, I used to very much enjoy the FPS world of TF2.

I’m not entirely sure why I stopped playing TF2, I love the pace of the game, the unique and entertaining graphics and the ability to group with friends and have a good laugh.  All of these factors result in an awesome game, so why did I stop playing in favour of Guild Wars?  I’m beginning to think the reason was because of having nothing to show for my time.

I’ll try to explain.   I’m never going to be an awesome FPS player, no matter how much I practice.   I can play the Medic class to a reasonable level for a public server, but the twitchy scout movement or the way you have to predict where the player will go as a soldier are beyond my skill level.  So what did I get for my hundreds of hours gameplay?  In Guild Wars I have a max level character decked out in his wonderful high level armour with a great title below his name that people look at and know that I’m more than your average player.

With the recent flurry of updates from TF2 I now have something to aim for… Crafting new items from rubbish I don’t need has just grabbed my attention.  These updates have actually been out for a while, its just taken me this long to notice.  So, despite the pull from my Guild Wars hoard of gold, I need the medic hats and I need them now!!

Shiny Medic Hat

Shiny Medic Hat

For those that are not familiar with the mechanisms, here is a nicely put together tutorial on how to craft in TF2.

Sugoll.

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