Monday, July 26, 2010

Return of the Bard

It’s been a while eh? Well, I decided to make my two weeks off exactly that, two weeks off from doing all the normal stuff I do. That included blogging, so apologies to anyone who was waiting for the next instalment. Even though I have been off, obviously gaming is a fun activity and not work, so I’ve been doing plenty of that! [So blogging is work is it? Get real, you're just lazy - Ed] I’ve played a fair amount of EQ2, a tiny bit of Mass Effect, dug out an old game I forgot I had purchased an age ago on STEAM and so downloaded NFS:Undercover and have been spending quite a bit of time on that. Also I’ve been doing a lot of family stuff, but not nearly as much as we had hoped over my two weeks off as my little one has been quite ill for most of my holiday. Meaning we were stuck in most of the time trying to regulate her temperature whilst it was over 40degrees C outside. What else? Oh yeah, it was Wifeys birthday and I got her the two best presents ever. A new graphics card and a kitten! Obviously not part of the same present :) In addition to this it was our Wedding Anniversary (9 years) which we both completely forgot about until about lunch time when my wife called me over saying “Oh, hunny, Happy Anniversary”. Neither of us mark the passing of such events with much excitement. We know we are going to be together forever, so why celebrate every little year as an achievement? Luckily, we both feel the same way or I could have been in a load of the proverbial brown stuff. 
What else? Oh yeah, my older daughter got bored and started her own business making refreshing drinks and cakes to sell round the pool which went down really well with the tourists and actually made her a nice little packet. Although, being only eight she did split several times during the week from her business partner and friend who lives up the road over diversification and a difference of opinion (they are kids..they fell out). It’s a tough world the business world!
There’s more. We had two MotoGP races whilst I was on leave and they saw the return of Valentino Rossi riding with a still broken, but set and pinned tibia. Pretty amazing stuff these guys are made of. Unless you have ridden a motorcycle the physical demands at just a little over cruise speed are quite severe, so when racing at the speeds these guys do you are experiencing huge amounts of ‘G’ through corners and having to steer the bike partially with your feet (it’s true and it works) I guess that must be pretty uncomfortable if you have a compound fracture. Especially when it was expected he should be out of action for another 6 weeks yet. Tough guys, made of stern stuff. Anyhow, Rossi did really well with his comeback finishing 4th and 3rd respectively. Laguna Seca was a fantastic race as ever and a great show put on by our friends across the pond. Congratulations to Nicky Hayden who finished fourth at his home Grand Prix and Ben Spies who finished 5th. Amazing rides (even if they were both disappointed with the result!).
On to the important stuff. Gaming. EQ2 is the best place to start. I had been spending quite a lot of time levelling my Shadowknight (“Angur”) for various reasons and ploughed him from level 35 to level 76 in a little over a week. I am really enjoying playing the SK. I like the versatility and the extra ‘tools’ they seem to have over my Guardian (my only other ‘real’ tank). I also have a load of great Tier 9 gear already for him. But as much as I am enjoying playing him, I need to get a toon to 90 and quickly. So I decided to shelve Angur for the time being and concentrate getting Adurj up to 90th. The reason I am concentrating on getting him levelled is that the raiding collective I hang with are starting up their calendar again in August and I wanted to be ready to start doing some tier 9 raids with them.
So, Adurj is now sitting at 88th level with just two more to go. His AAs are a little behind still and need a little work on, but he has all the required skills maxed there. The rest is just dressing. I’ve been spending quite a lot of time two-boxing Voltaan and Adurj through the Sundered Frontier timelines and last night I started the questlines in Stonebrunt Highlands. After checking my quest journal, I knew I had done a lot of quests in SF but I didn’t realise I had done 155! That’s a lot of quests for a zone. I’m not too sure about Moors (I kinda hated that place so rarely quested there) but I know in RoK expansion each zone only had about 80 quests. Although there were a lot more overland zones available. So, I started the Stonebrunt questlines and finished the first round of quests from Moonfield Hamlet before I logged last night. I don’t know if I am getting jaded with the way EQ2 runs quests but it really does seem there is no getting away from the “Go here, collect this” type of quest. I did complete one quest that made me smile. I liked the idea but the execution and programming was appalling. Basically you are required to equip a wand in your charm slot then that in turn blurs your vision and allows you to see the nodes you need to gather to complete the quest. However, as well as blurring your vision (only very slightly I found) the wand also ‘steers’ you towards the nodes. Which is a nice idea, I like it. If they could get it to work correctly. That darn wand had me running of cliffs, dragging Adurj of a cliff (twice), and gaining aggro at every turn. Nice idea, but no banana SoE. I’ve been hitting a few instances too, but in all honesty I am trying to stay away from groups on Adurj (although I have on occasion and obviously still group with my other toons). I always seem to be unlucky and get a group where I die a lot and when you are trying to level up the debt is not nice at all.
Another development is that I have stopped running the raids at AoV. I made a conscious decision that with so little time online (compared to what time online is required to actually progress) I needed to concentrate on progressing my own toons instead of trying to help out others. I know my efforts were appreciated by a fair few people and to them I’m sorry the party ended, but I was running raids and I was pretty much the only one who was not 90th and was coming away from those raids with a load of debt. I just need to use what little time I have online a little more selfishly for a while. I’m online most evenings, but I rarely get to spend a ‘whole’ evening playing. I’m not sure why I bother to group anymore! The last 3 or 4 groups I have had, I have had to leave early before zone completion due to real life stuff. I guess at some point I’m going to have to admit I don’t have the time to play an MMO anymore. But not just yet.
So, what’s up and coming? Well, Adurj needs to get to 90. I need to enervate his mythical weapon and try and get some better kit so that he can start raiding again. I’d ideally like to get Volt and Angur up there too, but I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen with the time I have. Maybe in the winter when it’s not so sunny outside and I’m stuck in the house a bit more. I’m wondering if the time has come to concentrate on just one toon. I’m not so sure I can do this as I really do have different ideas about what I want to play when I log on, ye know? I mean sometimes I’d rather be pummelling some ones face with my fists than singing them a song. For me it’s about immersion and I just can’t play the same toon all the time. I get bored or the type of toon doesn’t fit how I am feeling my play style will be for that day. BUT, and as you can see it’s a big but, I’m more than aware I really do not have time to spend in game too much anymore. I guess I’ll have to decide. One well kitted toon, or several mediocre toons. Hmm, something to think about. More gaming next post as lunch is over. Back to work.
Be well.

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