Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lagging Behind

Raiding last night was not so much fun. We hit Underfoot Depths again which was cool, but the thing that made it not fun? Well, the lag and delays and freezes were simply unbearable. To start, Ema couldn’t even get in the game. It took her about 15 or so tries before getting in. Then throughout the night we had problems, but they got steadily worse until we both decided to reboot our comps and reset our router. This, as it happens was not the best idea as the problems were not fixed and it took me about 20 tries to log in just to let our raid leader know it was not going to be happening for Ema and I. A shame indeed as I always hate letting down those we raid with. Sadly Rathgar didn’t go down to our attempts this time either, even though we have got him down a couple of times before. It was an amalgamation of issues, of which bad lag for a fair few was one.

Only playing one MMO really, I don’t know if other MMOs have the same problem with lag. I’m thinking that perhaps they don’t to the same extent as EQ2. It’s kind of linked to one of the things my Bro has commented on previously concerning the graphics engine still being a bit dodgy and memory intensive with leaks all over the place. It got me to wondering why EQ2 suffers from problems such as this. I mean I personally think EQ2 is an amazing game. Of course I would say that with 6 years of my life invested in to it. But, even though the graphics do look really cool and in my opinion still some of the best MMOs have to offer out there, the engine can be very sluggish and anomalies do still occur.

I recall when EQ2 first came out and there was talk that the graphics engine was made to be able to be upgraded many times to utilise technology concerning computers and graphics cards for many years to come with the ability to make best use of such technology. Even so, 6 years on and although things have got a little better all the problems have not yet been solved. I guess it’s not a problem I have too often, and I can certainly live with it. Unless it’s on raid night!

Sunday night saw a great session online. I played Udrath and no longer had I switched to him after doing a bit of broker mashing on Volt, I got a tell from Jahf on his mini Inquisitor asking if me and Mere had room in our group. Of course we did, and we all met up on the docks at Zek, The Orcish Wastes to indulge in a bit of HQ fun. My Bro and Jahf had already done the first part of the pre-requisite quest for Rescue of the Greenhoods HQ, called Operation Greenhood, so I quickly got myself caught up. I think its worth saying here that the very first fight we had was crazy. In typical style when tanking I ran straight through a huge amount of Orcs with the knowledge that I had two proficient healers with me. Sadly, I did kinda forget Uddy was still in his level 20 armour and as such what started as a fun pull very quickly turned in to an epic battle. Just for a bit more fun we picked up a ^^^ who wandered past too. But we lived, and after my Brothers exclamations of ‘typical Udrath’, we went to talk to that sneaky dude behind that Orc hut, then back to the docks and on to the Glademaster.

When we reached the part of the quest where you have to complete a sub quest for the Glademaster (Into the Vallon Foundry) we decided to start the Training is a Shield HQ also. Seeing as we were heading in to the Orcish Quarry anyhow, we thought we may as well. And it’s a good job too, as we were completing the quest for the Glademaster, none of us really noticed that Jahfs inquisitor had levelled, then when we killed that annoying Gnome, Nixam Duxdiggle (or whatever he is called) and his mini evil eye, Mere and Jahf got the update but Uddy didn’t as he was too low. We checked the respawn timer and it was an hour. This worked out quite well really as it gave us a chance to run through the remainder of the Training is a Shield trials given by Grozmog just outside the quarry. When we had got to the stage that Grozmog tells you to go kill Emporer Fyst in Deathfyst Citadel (“DFC”), it was back down the quarry to finish off the Gnome again. Just prior to doing that though, I nipped back to the guild hall to upgrade my kit and armour. When we resumed we only had to wait a couple of minutes and there he was. I got my update and it was back to the Glade to speak to Sasha (I think that’s the Elfs name. He’s just outside the Glademasters hut) and all three of us picked up the Rescue of the Greenhoods HQ. That was where we left it for that night, but I’m hoping we can head back there tonight to get cracking on that quest and then in to DFC itself. I really really love that zone. I don’t particularly think it is as good as it was originally when Fyst used to be an Epic x2 in the arena dungeon thingy, but it is still a quality instance. So, if all goes well I’m hoping to have some fun in there tonight.

On to other subjects, I already have the next instalment of Udrath and Mere’s adventures penned, but I won’t release it until I have seen Meres next one or spoken to him about it as I don’t want to step on his creative toes. If you are interested, my next instalment will introduce a new character to our tale and you can find some previously penned stories by me about him here if you feel like a bit of background reading. I’m not sure when my Bro will get time to get his next update up, as I know he is hugely mega busy with work at the moment and slogging his guts out most of the day and night. I hope things lighten up for you soon buddy! Oh, and I watched the weather forecast for the UK Bro, and knowing you do a huge amount of miles on the road, be careful and good luck in the snow drifts. I recall last year (or was it the year before?) when you got stuck for an eternity on the A17 I think. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again. Even so don’t forget your bag of salt in the car, a shovel and a nice flask of mommas hot brew too :) Oh, and most importantly, make sure your Ipod is fully stocked with groovy tunes !

Still nothing from Trion about BETA, I think it’s the 2nd or 3rd December. We’ll know if our Beta keys come good. Lots of crossed fingers all round for that one!

Be well.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Third Party Software and MMOs

There’s an interesting discussion going on in our raid syndicate at the moment. It concerns the use of an external program called Guild Connect. This is a package that from how I understand it, allows one person to be the admin and they have timers for spells etc that are then shared with the whole raid (if they are logged into Guild Connect). These can be used to call jousts, or really any instruction you wish without the raid leader having to worry about it. The call out is in a digital voice and is easy to understand. Basically it takes away some of the worry for the raid and the raid leader and allows for an accurate verbal notification system. That’s its purpose.

The discussion that has arisen is the one of gameplay and what people want out of the game. We recently had some discussions kind of touched on what sort of raid force we are, and quite simply, we are not hardcore, we’re just a group of friends raiding together to experience the content. Not to say we aren’t progressing, we are and quite nicely too. But the use of this new software has raised some of the old questions that raised their heads when Advanced Combat Tracker and parses first came out.

To raid hardcore, you either need a mega dedicated and extremely proficient raid force, or the help of systems like ACT and Guild Connect, or both. It basically can help transfer fights in to what I refer to as ‘hand holding’ encounters. Where you are simply following a prescribed script given to you by a third party system that assesses when you should joust, what detrimental are coming, when to stop attacking and so on. All the things that a raid leader usually does and also expects the raid members to pay attention to.

This has stimulated a couple of opposing opinions. On one side there is the idea that such technology and its use in the game turns it from a game where human interaction and the overcoming of adversity to progress as a team is paramount alongside enjoyment, to a program that really is no longer a game anymore, simply a physical reaction to digital instructions. Or put simply, it holds your hand through the content and lets you decipher the encounters secrets automatically, thereby removing the enjoyment and challenge aspect. Effectively turning it from a casual bunch of friends enjoying content together to a different game of hotbar whacka mole.

I can see both sides of the argument, and I’ll state from the off that if I absolutely had to choose, I would choose not to use the technology. The level of satisfaction is higher when achieving stuff with friends, doing it the ‘hard way’ or so to speak. You get to sit back when an encounter is finally beaten and enjoy the fact that you achieved something using your skill and understanding, not simply by following instructions.

However, to think that assumes that using such software completely removes all human interaction. It of course does not. I can still choose to ignore the instructions if, owing to other information I am aware of I know it is not relevant. I still have the choice to follow the instructions or not. For example, we tried this system out last night. On one of the encounters at one point you cannot attack the mob at all or he reflects the damage back on the raid. At the same time there are a lot of heroic adds that spawn and unless you kill them quick they get tougher and tougher until you wipe. I was tanking the adds. Being a Bruiser I do quite a bit of AoE damage, some of which is automatic when a normal hit connects, it stimulates AoE damage also. At one stage Guild Connect had told us to stop attacking him, BUT there were still adds around the named. I knew if we did not target and kill them fast they would get stronger until we could not cope, another set of adds would spawn and the adds we didn’t kill before would wipe us. By the same token, I knew if I headed in to attack the adds, there was a chance my auto AoE would hit the mob when I wasn’t supposed to and reflect that damage back on the raid. I quickly ignored the instruction from Guild Connect and ran in to grab the adds. Yes my AoE did hit the mob, so why did I do it? Why did I ignore the instructions of a machine and risk wiping the raid? Well, the reason is because of that, reason. I am a human with the ability to reason. I had assessed how many healers we had, watched the health bars in that split second checked there were no spikes to the raids health and surmised the danger of the adds becoming stronger (it happens quite quickly, you have to be fast at getting the adds down), was greater and less manageable for the raid force than the fact some spike damage may need to be healed from my accidental AoE on the named as I was grabbing the adds. I refuse to be dictated to by technology. I will use it, but with my reasoning abilities intact. I will never be the person who drives in to a lake just because my Sat Nav told me to.

And that’s the point. I will not shy away from using such technology to assist, only when required and even then with my ability to reason surpassing it. But that’s it, I will only allow it to assist what I am already doing. Using the previous example, the point when you are not allowed to attack is communicated to the raid by red text appearing on your screen telling you that the mob is putting up a barrier. Even though the Guild Connect system was telling me to ‘stop’, I was watching the screen and would have stopped anyway when I saw the red text. Yes it worked admirably in its function there but to be honest, I was aware I didn’t really need it for that as I was watching for the red text warnings. But, I am very willing to accede that there are times when such a system would be invaluable to me as an offtank. Take the first named fight in Underfoot depths. The adds in that fight seem to constantly memwipe and as a tank I am constantly running around trying to grab aggro back off the squishies. In a situation like that I am honest enough to admit, my focus gets diverted to monitoring my snap aggro tools, my aggro meter and simple things like moving around to the right spots to grab aggro constantly. In a situation like that if red writing appeared on my screen, I may well miss it.

The argument is much bigger than this though. It nudges in to the realms of suspense of belief, the reason why a lot of people play this game to escape from the responsibilities of real life, the horrendous things we see on the news, the problems we have in our own lives and the stresses that come with those. The game offers relief from all that, a safe place to ‘play’ with your friends and make new acquaintances and the use of such software as Guild Connect could detract from this. Imagine you are a systems analyst in real life. You spend all day working at your workstation reacting to analytical data tools, then you go home to relax, hop on EQ2, load up Guild Connect, and do it all over again but this time with pretty pictures on the screen alongside the data. Of course, you may find some saying guild connect is going to far, as they then switch to ACT to analyse their data, seemingly accepting one set of software but not the other.

I guess at the end of the day, use of such software to assist you through the game is a personal choice. All I would suggest is to remind yourself what it is you want from the game before using it or indeed ACT or special UI mods, or whatever. Think about what you want and what the use of these software packages would mean to you. Would it mean becoming more hardcore when you like casual? If it is going to detract from what you want from the game, don’t do it. If like me you can find a happy middle ground, then do that, but most importantly, remember it is a game, and the main reason for playing it is enjoyment and the fact you as an individual get something from it that is good for you personally.

Be well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

RIFT: Anticipation

RIFT. I’m pretty darn excited about this game. I’m trying to temper my enthusiasm though a la Vanguard issues for obvious reasons. It’s about time I gave you my take on the new game and what I understand it to be. You can of course visit the official website here, but if you want to see my thoughts on the matter just keep reading.

When assessing an MMO, I first look at the graphics of the game. Most important to me is the ‘feel’ that I’m going to be able to immerse myself in the game and the surroundings. It needs to be believable. I know that sounds kinda weird about a fantasy MMO but I need it to be that way or I won’t connect with the game. To give you some sort of indication here’s a rundown of a few MMOs and what I think of the graphics. WoW: Too Cartoony, EQ2: About spot on, WAR: Nice scenery but characters lack individuality, Guild Wars: Looks pretty, perhaps a little too ‘fairyland’, LoTRO: About spot on, although character graphics could do with a little more customisation, EQ1: great when released, now I can’t help thinking, Udraths a polygon! From the screenshots I have seen and the avatar graphics on the classes pages on the RIFT official website, I don’t think I will be disappointed. The scenery really seems to create an emotive response from me and the avatars seem realistic enough. Hopefully Beta will let me see what the customisation is like, but I’m hopeful.

The second most important thing to me in an MMO is the Class / Race System. If I am to play an avatar, I want to be able to create one that does what I want it to and one that adds to the immersion in to the game for me. Pretty much that means I need to be able to connect and relate to my toon. I am pretty traditional in this. I like the old Fighter, Mage, Scout, Priest basic archetypes with subclasses underneath. OK so it may not be a big departure from what is already out there, but it looks like Rift has a bit of a different take on them with the ability to utilise souls of past heroes to gain your skills. By the time you are max level, you will be able to utilise skills from three different souls. In addition to this each soul tree has branches and roots. So let’s say if I chose the Ranger soul tree initially, I can specialise it as much as I like and as I level I will get more points to spend in branches and roots. Then when I get high enough I will be able to have another soul tree, say I went for Nightblade and then I could assign my points between the two trees, effectively uniquely customising my character. And then when the third tree opens up to me, I could customise more.

I do like this idea. It steps away from the standard skill sets you would have if you had a certain class and effectively enables you to be multi class. Either a jack of all trades/master of none, or a master in one if I preferred. However, I can perhaps predict what may happen with this. I draw this example from my experience with EQ2 and the Alternative Advancement trees. Yes with EQ2 AAs you can customise to how you like to play your toon to your preferred play style. However, go on to EQ2 Flames and you will be able to find the ‘ideal’ setup for certain circumstances depending on class. This is how I see the soul trees going with RIFT. Initially yes it will be a world full of differently skilled toons, but give it a year and there will be the ideal tank setup, the ideal HoT healer setup, the ideal melee dps setup, and so on. I have to wonder how individual the classes will be after a couple of years live. I initially like this idea very much and I hope what I suggest does not come to fruition. I think this is one of the areas I will reserve judgment on, but I’m holding out hope it will be a good setup. I certainly like the amount of classes (soul trees) that are available.

RIFT Class system..there may yet be more classes added.
The Third thing I look at when deciding on an MMO is the play style. I am a PvE player. Although I do like PvP in the right circumstances. Ironically enough one of the most attractive PVE/P systems I have seen is in a game I have never played, and that is Dark Age of Camelot. If RIFT turns out to be like that I will be happy. It certainly seems we have two opposing factions, The Guardians (Dwarves, High Elves, Mathosian) and The Defiant (Bahmi, Eth, Kelari). I guess I’ll just have to see what it is like and how it develops.

The fourth thing I look at in MMOs is the community. I’d be remiss if I failed to say I would not wish to be a part of a community such as in WoW. It is the one community that lets MMOs down in my opinion. Yes, there are surely nice folks there of course, but it seems their voices are drowned out by the idiots. I did play WoW a long time ago and even back then I had to pull out some old one liners to stem the flow of crap abuse I was getting. I recall telling some American youth no older than my new shoes after he pestered me for what seemed like hours for cash that “I wouldn’t give ye the droppings off my nose on a frosty morning sunshine”. I received the educated reply of “WTF you talkin ‘bout bitch”. Just my experiences. Some may enjoy the community there. But not me. From looking at the forums on the Trion Worlds website for Rift, it seems the community is probably going to be ok. There have been a few ‘remove brain’ moments there, but on the whole most seem to be approaching the game with a mature and interested attitude. Again, I hold out hope for this area.

I seem to be saying that a lot. “I hold out hope..I’m hopeful” and so on. I guess the only way for me to see for sure is to get started.

C’mon..gimme my BETA!

Be well.

Next Installment

In keeping with the little story building my Brother and I have started, I give you the next installment.

Time waits for no Dwarf

Udrath was troubled. He paused his toil chopping fire wood and wiped sweat from his brow. Looking down over his beard at his bare chest, the hairs grey and sparse with age and lifting his arms he observed his muscles, now wirey and taught where they were once bulging and strong. Shaking his head he resumed the task and finished chopping the pile of wood he had gathered. Merecraft had headed out to hunt a few minutes earlier leaving Udrath to tend the fire and to prepare the spit. They had both decided to share camp together until they could decide what to do about the serious matters at hand.

Udrath chuckled and shook his head at the ridiculous situation as he placed two study sticks, upright on either side of the fire pit he'd dug to hold the spit. Sitting back down on the tree stump with a loud "oomph" he warmed his hands and waited for Meres return. Digesting the information had been hard enough, but all the things Udrath had seen in his many centuries had convinced him to never discount a thing. He didn't know if what Mere suggested was possible or not, but he knew he trusted his old friend and lets face it, he thought, he had nothing better to do. He knew his time was near, and where better to spend his last few months than at Merecraft Oakenhearts side fighting for a good cause. It was where they both excelled, he knew. Aye, a happier more apt way to see out his end of days on this world he couldn't think of. Udrath had already made up his mind. No matter the futility of the venture, he would stay by Merecrafts side.

When Merecraft returned, a brace of pheasants slung over his shoulder, Udraths thoughts had already turned to more serious and grave matters, his rumbling stomach. Smiling at Mere he stood and took the offered birds and sat back down setting to plucking the largest of the pheasants. As Merecraft unshouldered his pack he looked at the bare chested Dwarf pulling furiously at the feathers. He couldn't believe how old his friend looked, his shoulders once tall and proud now hunched forward his once rotund and healthy gut now tight and wirey. Uddys complexion was greyer too, as was his thinning hair and beard. Having been transported so many years in to the future, he had not even considered the fact a lot of his old acquaintances and friends would be dead or ancient. But even so, regardless, here was Udrath, his wit as sharp as ever, albeit with a body less willing.

"So," Udrath said, looking up from the near ready bird. Resuming his plucking but still looking at Merecraft, he continued, "I'll be going with ye lad. The Gods know why though, I've little strength left in me old bones for adventure my friend." his eyes turned down back to the bird, and his tone became more solemn, respectful. "She's gone ye know lad. I lost her. Damn near seventy seasons ago now." Looking back up at Merecraft the human saw that the Dwarves eyes were cold but red rimmed, and he saw the haunted look return. "Life's been hollow since then" He said, the rumble in his voice returning to cover the lump in his throat, "It's nice to have a reason to live again lad. Regardless of this folly, I'm grateful for that true enough".

Merecraft said nothing and simply nodding a warm smile on his lips and standing he walked passed the Dwarf, words not necessary as he placed a brief hand on Uddys shoulder, then gathered more wood for the fire from the pile Udrath had left. Megan, Uddys wife had been as good a friend to him as Udrath. Taking him in, giving him solace whenever he required and never enquiring or judging about his business, save to ask if he was well. A more kindly and long suffering Dwarf he had never met, he would miss her greatly. His stomach knotted briefly at her memory and whispering a brief prayer to Tunare, he turned back to the camp.

Udrath spoke again as Merecraft sat back down. "You do know we're not going to win don't you lad? We didn't beat that motherless whoreson last time and we were in our prime away back then, " he paused, "and you were Half Elven too." Laughing he added, "a once Elven and a geriatric Dwarf taking on a Shadowknight who has the power to move through time. Should be a riot laddy, but I suppose a couple of heroes like ourselves will cope admirably'".

Sharing in his friends rare good humour Merecraft smiled, "I guess you are right good friend, I guess you are right. Only time will tell for sure though," Nodding towards the pheasant still in Udraths hand he added, "Are you going to cook that bird or play with it old timer?" he chided.

"Keep ye goatee on Laddy, she's a comin'", Udrath said as he cleaned his boot knife then started gutting the bird. As he set to with the small knife, Udrath wondered silently what he would do about the knowledge he had of his death. If he would tell Merecraft he already knew his own time was short. Ironically enough, as predicted by Carinus Dhrak himself, hundreds of years ago during a meeting in Neriak. "Bahh", he muttered to himself, it would not matter. Thier chances of surviving even that long was slim. If the time was right, he'd tell his old friend, and if not, well, then he'd just fulfil his destiny with proud stoicism. He was a Stormheart after all.

Be well.

Friday, November 19, 2010

RIFT beta

Well, I’ve finally managed to sign up for RIFT BETA. I had already registered at the website, but until today and an email from Trion Worlds, I didn’t realise that you actually have to log in to your account at Trion Worlds and complete a BETA questionnaire for you to be considered.

I’ll be checking out RIFT in more detail in preparation for an anticipated BETA key and will update you with my thoughts.

Until then I have a very busy weekend with Office parties and work to be done at home. I’ll try to update on Monday if I’m sober enough to type!

Be well.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rossi recovers..

Just a quick one to wish Valentino Rossi well in his recuperation from his operation on his shoulder. The operation itself took twice as long as was expected as the injury which was originally thought to be a damaged tendon in his shoulder actually turned out to be a lot more serious when they got in there. The tendons were broken, not simply damaged. I was stunned. Vale has been racing with that injury for months and when I say racing I really mean racing. How can any sane human being have battles at 150 mph, bashing fairings with other riders in intense battles..when they have an injury like that?

Just to put it in perspective for you, when riding at that level the pressure on your arms and shoulders is immense. Absolutely huge. The G-Forces are akin to and in some circumstances higher than those F1 cars / drivers have to sustain and in the region of those a fighter pilot has to endure. Rossi rode with that injury, completely ripped tendons, got podium finishes and a win whilst under those intense physical pressures.

Just to put it in a little more perspective for you, can you imagine a football player playing a 90 minute match with a completely ripped tendon in their leg? Then doing that for another seven or eight matches. And winning the ball and beating the opposing team members in sprints and challenges?

Valentino Rossi (and indeed most MotoGP riders) are made of real tough stuff indeed. Their dedication and ability to dismiss pain in pursuit of their passion absolutely stuns me.

Get well soon Vale. Kudos to you for being one hell of a tough MotherF’er. I can’t wait to see you fully competitive again and on a Duke.

Valentino Rossi (46) challenging Casey Stoner (27) at the Malsian Grand Prix.
Rossi is racing here with a broken leg and ripped shoulder tendon.
All whilst enduring incredible G-Forces.... Amazing.
Be well.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


It’s been a while since I have spread my wings and actively tried out a new game. Perhaps the last of which was Mount & Blade which was an OK game but only kept me interested for about 20 minutes. Prior to that it was Mass Effect which I really really liked, but due to either user error or a bug, I lost my saved game and never quite got the enthusiasm to start again. My real love is for MMOs but aside from EQ2 there simply isn’t any that tickle my fancy at the moment. So, I have decided to have a look at some games in my ‘old’ genre of choice, the First Person Shooter.

I think the last shoot ‘em up I played with gusto was Left 4 Dead. Not traditionally what you expect from a shoot ‘em up, but mix zombies, guns & violence and that’s pretty much always gonna be a winner. I used to like the army style FPS types like Battlefield 2, but for some reason nowadays I just can’t seem to keep up in anything other than a single player offline game. Stick me online and before 10 minutes has passed I’m screaming at my screen to various avatars before they blast me into oblivion, “Stop shooting me, get off the game and go do your F’in homework!!”. Does that ever happen? No. They stay camping my spawn spot and firmly place a piece of .762 FMJ between my eyes every time I pop up, probably dancing around their Transformers bedroom in celebration. Bitter? Me? Nah.

I have been toying with the idea of getting Left 4 Dead 2. I know it’s been out an age, but my love for the first edition means I know I would like the game, but how much staying power would it have? There also isn’t any other GTA games out there at the moment that I haven’t completed in their entirety, which is another of my fave genres of games. Oh, hang on a sec. I think there may be a couple of add ons to GTA IV, The Ballad of gay Tony and something else to do with the biker gang The Lost. I wonder if they are available on STEAM? I’ll have to check that out when I get home.

As for EQ2, I’m starting to get a bit of lethargy where end game content (aside from raiding) is concerned. I’m still thoroughly enjoying playing Udrath with my Bro when i can, but the normal run of the mill instance runs in tier 9, well they are starting to get a bit old. Maybe I need to keep Voltaan just for raiding at the moment, well that and I still have about 25 points to gain in Tinkering before I reach 450 skill in that. But aside from that maybe I’ll focus on Udrath and my Warlock (Bodica) for some lower end game play fun. Of course Volt will always be doing some instance or other as he’s asked to help a fair amount, but I don’t think I’ll be actively seeking instance groups anymore with him. It’s time to try a bit of something else. I could go back and play Adurj, but to be honest he is on a different account to Voltaan and although I really like Adurj, I’ve been trying to cut down to keeping just two accounts running (not the five I have available to me), so that would mean just Voltaans account and my wife Emas account. Oh, I guess I can always decorate when I’m bored. I always find that fun and I still have to build my Tower of Babel. Maybe a change in game is not required, just a change in play style. There really is sooo much to do in EQ2, it’s entirely possible to play the same game in a completely different way. Perhaps I should explore areas of the game I have shied away from before, like the crafting quests, the crafting epic quest and so on. Hmm, something to think about.

I guess I’m just feeling restless. I’m sure something will come along to tickle my fancy soon.

Be well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

To Parse, or not to Parse.

That is the question.

I was playing EQ2 last night and was using the Advanced Combat Tracker parse software. I linked my Brother a few parses as I was genuinely surprised at my numbers in a group setup as it’s been a while since Volt grouped SF content and even then probably not since he has upgraded a lot of his kit. However, I linked it to him without really thinking that he wouldn’t understand it not having used one before (I think), as way back when he used to play parses were used, but it seemed perhaps only by those who raid seriously. Now the parse software is so useful, many seem to use it all the time and not generally solely for its original intended purpose.

This got me to thinking about why people use them and the point of view expressed by some that they are kind of cheating. It’s a tricky argument really. There is no doubt with all the different aspects of the parse software that it ‘decodes’ the more difficult technical stuff in the game that makes you perform better. From letting you know when detrimentals cast by the mob are going to go off, to using the timer to analysing the data after a group or raid to see what you’re strong points were, what buffs were up and running and the effect they had on your dps (damage per second) or hps (heals per second), to checking your hit rate, or even if your group / raid members were on top of their game too, or indeed what loot was collected and by who.

Its uses are many, but put simply it enables you to play the game easier and to develop your toon so it is the best that it can possibly be. One may state that a truly good player will do this independently of parse software and any help beyond what the game offers could be construed as cheating. The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘Cheating’ as “to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage”. Well by that definition I do not think it is cheating. For one using ACT parse is not dishonest. You are not exactly hiding the fact you are using it when you post a parse. Secondly, it is not acting unfairly, as the software is there for all to download and utilise. It cannot be unfair if all players have access to it. Yes, it does give you an advantage, simply because it offers so many tools one’s game is sure to improve and at the very least become easier once you have used it. Finally, if using a parse is cheating, then so is using the quest helpers provided in Zam and EQ2Wiki.

What using the parse does do though in my opinion, is it removes most of the mystery and soul from the game when you use it. It turns what could be a game that assists you to detach yourself from real life and effectively ‘become’ your toon for the period you play in to the controller of a technical maths game. It turns it from being fun, in to almost being like work. I mean I do that during my day job, looking at stats, assessing patterns, studying excel sheets. By the same token though, if you wish to raid effectively and are not ‘lucky’ or a genius then you will need to use a parse. It’s as simple as that. How else can you break down the technicalities of a fight to see who did what when and assessing the effect that has? How else could you properly work out what your Virtuous Concerto hit for? How else could you ascertain who in your raid force is not curing or healing? Basically it’s required as an effective raid Management tool for both raid leaders and members.

Nowadays though, a lot use them for grouping too. The same benefits are there, to basically help you improve how to play your toon to the best of its ability. And because grouping is so different to raiding (try getting just 5 other peoples buffs instead of 23..the difference is noticeable) there is a different set of stats you need to evaluate to be good in groups AND and raids.

There are of course ‘bad’ things in using a parse. One is due to the fact that it kind of makes me feel like I’m in Mathlympics and not playing a soulful game where I can BE Voltaan. Another is sometimes folks will ‘overuse’ it and post a parse for every fight just to make the point that they are ruining you in all areas and wish to gloat. I personally have never been an advocate of that, but I would be lying if I said I hadn’t used it to show off on the odd occasion when I feel my hard work should be noticed. The other is that by using just the surface tools of a parse you may only get half a picture. For example, it is no good judging a healer on just the HPS. You need to dig deeper to check the have been doing their job fully and correctly, using all their debuffs at the right time, the cures etc too. For you to use ACT or any other parse it is important to learn to use it fully so you don’t get a distorted ‘half a picture’.

So, in my opinion there is no doubt, the ACT tool will help you improve your game if you utilise it correctly. But beware, it’ll likely remove the games soul too.

Be well.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Belated Birthday!!

Belated Birthday wishes to Le'Bard Connection! Two days ago saw the first year anniversary of my blog. Has it really been that long since I started? 137 posts later, here we are. How time flies.

Happy Birthday Blog!

Be well.


{I’m going to try a little experiment. Let’s see if my Bro is up for it. What seemed like an age ago, the adventures of Udrath and Merecraft began in EQ1 and my brother and I wrote a series of short stories that at times intertwined with each other in parts. Well, since Mere has started playing again and the old team is back together I thought I would start us off again..so here’s a short intro to how I perceive they met up again and then I’m going to see what my Bro can create from Mere’s point of view. Hope you enjoy, and Mere, hope you’re up for the challenge.}

Here we go..


Scratching absently at the rust spots on his round conical helm and elaborate nose guard, the old rugged, untidy looking Dwarf sat lost in thought. Sighing and grunting dramatically, he eased his way up back on to his feet, gritting his teeth against the cracks in his knee joints as he rose, using the shaft of his huge double headed axe as a prop to help him stand. Stretching his shoulders similar noises came from his upper back and neck, and again he grunted getting angrier at the pain the movement caused. Now in a thoroughly bad mood Udrath Stormheart jammed the helm back on to his head and grumbling made his way to speak to old Irontoe about some sort of job that Uddy knew would pay well. Old Irontoes tasks always did.

As he strolled across the tree cities ancient wooden platforms, his mind drifted back to happier times. Well, times that were perhaps not happy, but nostalgia always seemed to make them so. Smiling to himself Uddy thought, ‘At least these old bones used to work back then!’. Stopping briefly to let a group of screaming, playing, dancing and spinning Fae children cross his path, Udrath couldn’t help but give them a deep scowl and growl as several of them glanced his way, causing screams of happiness and play to turn to those of distress. The older Fae leading the group, quite obviously a teacher or nursery attendant to the children, turned to Udrath and provided her own scowl in return, “Stop bothering my students you big Grump” she chided as the group moved on and a young Fae female at the back of the group stuck her tongue out at him. In common foul humour, Udrath again grunted and stomped away in the direction of Irontoe.

As he walked, Udrath took in the familiar surroundings and as he did many times a day he reminisced about Kaladim and how he wished desperately to be together with his own people again. Yes, he would see the odd Dwarf or two hanging around the city, but it just wasn’t the same. The Elves and Fae that occupied the platforms of the tree city were nice enough he mused, but the vaulted Halls and tunnels of Kaladim tore at his soul daily as did the feeling that his destiny was to someday take back the Dwarvern stronghold. Laughing inwardly at his thoughts, he asked himself what he would and could do about his dreams and how an ancient Dwarf almost crippled with arthritis could achieve getting out of bed in a morning, let alone taking back his home city. But Udrath simply could not come to terms with the fact that his dreams would never come to fruition. He needed to believe it. He needed that ray of hope to get him through the day. Udrath was terribly lonely. Sighing deeply once more he stirred his thoughts back the present as he approached Old Irontoe and smiled at the thought of speaking to his kind. Even such a short interaction with another Dwarf would stop the loneliness for a time, he knew.

As he walked the last few hundred yards and came close enough to make out with his failing eyesight two figures, he saw Irontoe was talking quietly with a tall Human who had his back to the approaching Dwarf. Grumbling to himself about the wait he would have until Irontoe and the Human finished their business, Uddy stopped a respectful distance away and waited for them to conclude their dealings. They seemed deep in discussion about something and ever curious and aware his hearing was only one of his physical attributes not to be failing miserably with age, Uddy edged forward to eavesdrop. The familiarity of the sound of Irontoes deep timber in his voice warmed Uddies heart and again he began to think of Kaladim and his dreams of returning. It was then that he realised he recognised the second voice from the Human also, and although he could not place it, something deep within Udrath began to stir, something else that stirred happy memories of his longhall in Kaladim, and perhaps most hurtfully, memories of his now deceased wife Megan. His bad humour returned swiftly and doubled due to the unwarranted an unwanted memories of his wonderful woman and not prepared to wait any longer Uddy moved up directly behind the Human and issued his loudest most offensive grunt, “You ladies finished talking about ye frocks yet? I have business here Old ‘toes, hurry it up you old goat”.

Old Irontoes smiled at the gruff Dwarf and winked knowing Uddys bark was much worse than his bite nowadays, and the tall Human slowly turned towards him, staring. Udrath ignored the rude Human and kept eye contact with Irontoes, putting on his deepest scowl, but words spoken in perfect Old Dwarvern came from the Human, and stopped Udrath dead in the middle of his scowl. Taking a deep breath at the flood of memories that surfaced and unusually the feeling of tears forming, Udrath slowly turned to face the Human, reminding himself he was a proud Dwarf and swallowing the lump forming in his throat.

“Laddy! You... Is it really.... you?” he stammered.

{Over to you Bro...

Be well.}

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

So many things to do

The last few nights (apart from Mondays raid night) I have been helping guildies to complete their epic weapon quests. I really did forget how much fun some of the RoK zones are. It’s been an eternity since I last ran Vaults of Eternal Sleep or Maidens Chamber, or indeed Crypt of Agony. Admittedly they didn’t take long to complete compared to when I was running them at the correct tier a few years ago, but it was fun all the same. I’d quite like to be able to run those zones again as a challenge though. I wonder if it is possible for SoE to scale the zone like they did with some of the TSO instances, where you can run level 90 versions. That would be awesome if every instance was like that. Although some of the zones I would really like to run like that are open zones not instances, so it wouldn’t work. I really really would so love to run a level 90 Fallen Gate or Stormhold or Crushbone though ;) That would be pretty awesome.

Tonight I plan on spending some time on Udrath. I know my decorating is falling behind, but I still have my carpenter hammering out the materials I need to produce my Tower and Fort Brakkarg, so I am sitting around waiting for my building materials to be delivered anyhow. I am desperate to catch Mere up and do some more adventuring with him. Well, tonights the night. Even if Mere is busy I can use the time to power Uddy up to Meres level so we are at least on an equal footing again. Oh yeah, I will probably craft Emas and Uddys level 22 armour on Killzum too. I have no idea how expensive the rares are nowadays though. If it’s too much they can both have level 20 armour instead, unless I have some rares stashed away somewhere that is.

I want to try and get Udraths AAs up a little too and ideally would like to start a crafting profession for him as I have never really been a crafter, but it seems like the ideal opportunity to level one up slowly as I level the adventure progression too. That way if I do a level a level, so to speak, then by the time he gets to 90 I’ll have a 90 crafter too. But what profession to choose? With all the house decorating I am doing at the moment I think I may go down that route. It would be nice to be able to hammer out stuff I need instead of having to ask other s or buy it off the broker. Yeah, I’ll probably do that.

Other than that I need to spend some more time catching up with RIFT developments as I have fallen behind a bit with those and have no idea what’s happening there. I hope BETA is soon and that I get a key! I am sooo excited about this game and I am struggling to keep my enthusiasm curbed so as not to get too ‘hopeful’ about it. Yes, we all remember the hype about Vanguard and the actual result. I don’t want to get all excited just to be disappointed again. But it does look seriously good. Ohh, I wonder what the ‘fluff’ content will be like? Will I be able to sit in a chair? Now that’s the million dollar question! Ahh, I have just thought of another cool emote I don’t think I have ever seen in an MMO. How about a proper ability to do a handshake, warrior style, forearm to forearm like with other players? That would be a great interaction tool instead of waving ‘hello’ when you meet someone.

Another thing that has ground to a halt recently is the video I am doing for my raid syndicate. I have (most) of the material ready to produce but can I find a free video editing software that does everything I want? Nope. I have the updated version of the Windows Movie Maker thing, but that doesn’t allow you to slow down or speed up video and a few other things that I need for the idea I have. If anyone reading has any suggestions on what to use, please let me know, I’m desperate to get working on this. I have the material, the ideas, the music, the voice overs, the graphics, but no suitable editing software! Frustrating indeed. Mebbe I’ll check out the PC mags this lunchtime. There is bound to be something free on one of the cover discs. Well hopefully.

Be well.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

No room at the Inn

I’m running out of room in my house. I got up to my 700 item limit pretty quickly and to be honest I didn’t think I was anywhere near it. But running round my house and the subsequent part of Gorowyn Island I have taken over and I can see I have placed a huge amount of items. I guess that’s one of the problems with going outside the ‘official’ boundaries of my house and on to the Island. You need a lot more items to fill it. Anyhow, I had about 1,800 Station cash just sitting there as it has been for quite some time and purely by accident I was skimming through the items available seeing what I could waste my cash on, when I saw it. Yup. House expanders. One that gives you an extra 100 slots to use for 650 station cash, and another that gives you 200 extra item slots for your home for about 1,200 sc. They don’t stack but I’m not sure if they will be able to be used with the crafted house expanders, but it’s worth a try. So now I am up to 900 slots available with 734 filled. It’s a damn good job I have some more space. I’ve started to build my Tower of Babel.

Yup you heard right. I was looking at my available item slots and thought that I’ll need all of them to build my huge Galleon. But I was starting to balk at the idea as looking on the official forums, so many people have done it. So I thought I should be a bit more inventive and create something that no one else (as far as I am aware) has tried. So, Fort Brakkarg was born. On the back of Gorowyn Island a whole section is now protected from land and coast alike by high walls and battlements. Inside will be tents of a small community all centering round the octagonal tower I am building (foundations laid, construction begins tonight!).

The Tower itself will be octagonal in ever decreasing circles as it gets higher. I am planning on building as many levels as I possibly can under my item limit. I want it to be taller than the mountain it is next to. I’m going to have to leave about 50 slots free for decorating it and the surroundings, but I must say I’m pretty excited about it (in a sad way). I plan on only using the ground floor and perhaps one level (that only covers a bit at the sides) and leave the whole of the tower inside hollow, so you can standing the middle and look all the way up to the top to the stars. I also plan on popping a teleport pad right at the top and make it in to some sort of observatory. Looking forward to getting started on that I must say.

Raiding was fun last night. No great shakes as far as conquering new content is concerned but a lot of fun all the same. We hit Labs, then Palace where Volt finally got his hands on his defensive chest piece and then we headed off to start Underfoot Depths. We cleared the trash in there, had one very good shot at the first named, then had to call it a night as it was end of raid time. I guess we’ll be heading there again on Thursday to get him then move on through the zone as far as we can. Most importantly Volt got more raid seals. Man I need those so bad. I need to adorn four pieces of armour that I don’t wear at the moment (as they are not adorned and their offensive/defensive counterpart is) so eventually I will have a full set of defensive and offensive raid armour that will all be adorned. It’s a real pain as a fighter. With the other classes (correct me if I’m wrong) it is nice to have offensive and defensive gear but really for a lot it’s only the offensive they’ll use. But for a tank, especially a leather tank where at the drop of a hat I can be asked to tank or to dps, I NEED both sets to be fully adorned and available. So that’s an extra 35 seals I need above other non fighter classes. A little unfair but hey, I’ll roll with it. I have my sublime weapon and a full set of armour available that is adorned (both red and white), so it’s not a great great issue, but hoping to get all those sorted. I then need more seals to upgrade items to tier two raid gear. I already have a couple of Tier 2 pieces, but can get a couple more through use of raid seals. I guess I need to make sure I don’t miss any raids and grab all the seals off named mobs that I can.

I’m really hoping to get some time on Udrath tonight as well as doing some decorating. I need to catch him up to Merecraft, so I may head to Firemyst Gully and two box him and my SK to power him up in 30 minutes or so from 17 to 22. I know Mere is doing his armour quests at the moment, so would like to help out there. Not sure I’ll do them myself as I’ll just get Killzum to craft Udrath a full set of level 22 armour. That reminds me, Ema has asked me to whip some up for her 22 Zerker too. Mebbe I’ll do that tonight too. Wow. Looks like bed time is going to be in the wee small hours for me!

Be well.

Monday, November 8, 2010

EQ2 wishlist

Reading my brothers post ‘Question & Answer’ stimulated by a question Jahf posed to him, got me to thinking about what I would like to see different in EQ2. Unlike my Bro I have only had two breaks from EQ2. One was for a month and the second one for 3 months. Aside from that I have pretty much been a player since launch. So of course I have seen lots of changes, most of which I have forgotten were ever implemented and some which I have been hankering for years for, but have never seemed to materialise. So being a long time vet of EQ2, what would I like to see change, or what could be implemented that I would like to see?

It’s weird really but one of the first things that pops in to my mind is something my Bro mentioned. I know it is mega petty and really has no direct benefit aside from pleasing a lot of EQ2 players if it were brought in to play, but it really is something that annoys me. I don’t know why, but it does. I want to be able to sit in a chair, or lie (not Feign Death!) on a bed. It’s a really minor issue, but one that makes me think about it every time I click ‘sit / stand’. I guess that is what he referred to as ‘fluff’ content, but in my opinion it is one of the more important types of content as it adds to the immersion of the game.

I never forget the first time I wandered in to the Sign of the Prancing Pony in LOTRO and lo & behold a full band with six members were playing a concert. Nope. No raid gear was gained, no fancy items or levels, but wow. The fun level was way up. There were Hobbits dancing, people smoking tabac pipes amongst many other things. All in all it resembled a busy night in an Inn. Great atmosphere created by players utilising the in game ‘fluff’ content. Fantastic. Oh, and the players were...yes, you guessed it, sitting in chairs, properly.

I guess my love of the ‘realism’ of MMOs and the fact that I am drawn to that side of it (hence why I don’t play MMOs with cartoony graphics) makes those sort of things a lot more important to me. I know it sounds silly to talk of realism when we fight Dragons and Orcs and other weird creatures, but I mean realism in that context. I want to feel like I am in the middle of a David Gemmell novel and I’m damn sure Druss used to turn a chair round and sit on it with the back rest facing towards him and didn’t kneel on the ground with his hands in his lap. For me, for the immersion to be complete I have to be playing a toon that can do what my body can do, like sit, or lie. Of course there are limits. I don’t want to actually have to go sit on the toilet for 10 minutes and I certainly do not want to have a break from raiding so all the toons can go into the corner and squat or aim.

I need the immersion to enjoy my game just that little bit more. Having said that there are plenty of things that have a more technical side to them that I would like to see improved. For example, I have 7 toons that are level 80 or above. OK they are on various accounts some which are not active now and haven’t been for a while, but I think it’s pretty clear I have a good knowledge of all levels of experience and what the game has to offer across all tiers. I would like to have the ability to create a toon at a level I desire (obviously not top tier). I think if you have got at least two toons to a tier (again, not top tier) then you can start a new toon at that level, say up to level 70 in increments of 10 levels. I know there may be a few toons at higher tier that really don’t know how to play their toons because of this, but let’s face it (and Jahf knows what I am talking about) there are plenty who have played the game for 6 years and don’t know how to play their toon class. Part of my reasoning for this, is that we now have the Chronomancer, so it is entirely possible to hop around the level ranges and actually dominate more than if you created a toon at the tier you wish to play, especially considering if you have a lev 90 raid geared toon. Try mentoring down if ye haven’t, you absolutely decimate stuff. It’s kinda overkill. Players would still be restricted by their amount of character slots so they couldn’t go haywire and create loads of level 70 toons. We all know that if you absolutely desire it and have enough time to spare you can level to 90 in a week max if you cane it, perhaps as little as two days, so why not be able to create a toon at that level if you have already done so twice.

Another techie thing I would like to see a change in is having the ability to unadorn stuff that is heirloom. An example. I have a lev 80 zerker. I have not played him (seriously) for more than a year. However, I had been levelling an SK. Now I know not all SK stuff can be worn by Zerkers/Guards and vice versa, but it would be nice not to have to grind all the old stuff just to get to the same spot with him equipment wise. Again, it’s not as if I haven’t experienced that content before.

I know the reason why things like these two suggestions may never be implemented, and that’s cash. Why would SoE let you create a level 70 toon when they could have an extra months subs from you whilst you get to 70 (if you level at a normal-ish rate). Or why indeed allow you to unadorn stuff when they know you will spend subs to log in everyday to go adventure to get the stuff (I know a LoN card allows you three charges to do this, but that’s mega rare and cannot be considered main stream EQ2 availability). Cash is the answer I’m sure. It’s all about capturing us for longer periods of time and both my suggestions would cut time /played perhaps.

Oh, and I’d also like to see truly interactive cosmetic pets. Remember that poor hound in the Freeport citizenship quests that you have to train? That’s right the one that you train, make love you, then kill (coz you’re now Evil!). I’d like a pup I could train to sit, lie down, track, maybe have some battle abilities, like distract or something. I’d like to be able to feed my pup and actually see him waddle over to his bowl to chow down. Mebbe I should just borrow my daughters Nintendogs. That’ll keep me happy!

Be well.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Finally! All is back up and running. I have been off work for a few days to get the house move sorted, but finally, we are all in and settled. Apart from my one cat who thinks he still lives at the old house (which is only about 200metres away), so he keeps going back there and obviously wondering why we aren’t there, even though he has only just seen us across the road. Strange creatures. I’m sure he’ll get the point soon though when his belly starts rumbling. Our other cat has settled right in at home and has already began to start his plan for world domination by beating up all the local cats.

More importantly than all of that, my internet is working again. Back online and last night hooked up with my raid gang to hit the Underfoot Depths. They had started the instance on Monday and had taken down the first named encounter, so that left us starting at Rathgar. The fight was a lot of fun and although it took quite a few pulls to get it down pat, we eventually killed him in a very smooth fight. It was good to get my first notch on my belt for an UD named and I was eager to get on to the next encounter, The Three Blind mice. I really wanted to get these guys down as the enccounter drops a really great Brawler weapon. Sadly though I think we were all a bit tired as the fight didn’t go as planned and we couldn’t get them down. I’m not really sure what the problem was, aside from the mouse we were trying to kill (Maarkat I think) kept one shotting me as tank, and had previously done the same to our SK. I need to do a bit more research but I reckon by boosting some of my arcane and physical resists we should be ok.

One thing that did happen during the fight was I get ported by the named. One of our healers made comment on this and asked me to stop running out of heal range. I understand that running out of heal range is a quick way to die especially when you are looking at a raid mobs dps. Heals are required, as simple as that. So running out of range is bad. But the script for the fight in this circumstance makes it tough to stay within range all the time when you are ported by the mob out of range. Wasn’t too much of an issue though as when we got our positioning sorted our healer was more than capable of keeping distance once we had a plan.

I was a little peeved off though that one of our raid members who has been with us longer than I have, but irrespective of that has raided with me a huge amount, actually thought I would just go off running round willy nilly during tanking a fight. I mean what sort of idiot would I have to be to do that? I did make a bit of a snide comment in group, which I ‘m not proud of now. I said something like “Do you honestly think I just decided to up and go for a jog halfway through the fight? Get my Nikes on like?”. I don’t like stuff like that so when I do it myself (yes, I’m human) well I was a little ashamed that I let it affect me like that and that I was a little bit rude to another player who I like greatly. But I really couldn’t understand why anyone in their right minds would tank a mob then just run around with it for the hell of it. Man, if I acted like that raiding at this level, I really would not deserve my spot on the raid force. That’s like tanking 101. Anyhow, to my fellow raid member, I apologise for the cheeky comment I made, but please don’t underestimate me. I may not be the best tank in the world, but I’m still pretty good and down with the job, I promise ye. If something like that happens, it’s gonna be down to the mechanics of the fight.

Having said all that, it was right to bring it up. What raid progresses if they don’t discuss what got us wiped? I guess it was the instant jump to ‘Volt was out of range, therefore must be his fault’, line of thinking that got my goat, coz if it was true it would have been a crazy noob mistake from me. Yes it needed to be raised as it was a reason for the wipe, but .... OK. I have just realised I have laboured this point way too much and now am nudging the realms of sounding anal about it. Nuff said. Move on.

Tonight. Yes. Looking forward to tonight. Udrath is going to be heading out to adventure with his buddy Merecraft and we are going to be finishing some HQs and having some general merriment. I’m looking forward to it, yeah. I must admit I am enjoying earlier content much more than end game at the moment and when it’s with old friends / family it’s all the more fun. If I see Jahf online I tonight, I’ll poke him too. I tried to convince Ema to come along with us, but I keep forgetting she’s ‘L££T’ and we probably don’t move fast enough for her. I reckon within 5 minutes she’d be pulling her hair out with boredom!

Be well.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nearly there, but not quite..

I really didn’t realise how addicted I was to EQ2 until it was taken away from me. It’s not just the game, although I do yearn to run around my house placing items for some reason! You have no idea how many Galleons and Castles I have built in my mind in planning for my home deco. Quite sad really. Nah, mainly it’s the company. I guess you don’t realise how much you depend on the good friends you make online in your normal day to day life. Even though I have never met half of the folks I hang around with, I found I have been missing their opinions, discussions, humour, idiosyncrasies, and generally ‘being around’.

It’s strange as well in that I really do feel like I am missing out on stuff. Since I have been offline I have missed two raid nights with a third coming up tonight that I won’t be able to attend and countless groups and guild type activities. It really is weird when you are smack bang engrossed in a community, then suddenly it’s not there anymore. Well, of course it’s there, but I can’t take part in it is what I’m getting at.

Hopefully the absence will soon be over though and I am hoping to be back online tomorrow night *fingers crossed*. I’m wondering what sort of tell hell I will be in when I return? Haha, probably none, that’s when the reality hits, lol!

Hope to see you soon!

Be well.