Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking back at 2010

**Warning this is a big blog. Grab a cuppa, a mince pie and settle in**

I can’t believe another year has gone whistling by. Nearly 2011 and I’m still playing EQ2 and staring down the barrel of Velious (the expansion I quit EQ1 on). A couple of my Bro’s posts here and here have got me in the nostalgic mood and I really think I should make some attempt at a 2010 review.

I’m pretty sure I’m gonna have to break it down in to subject matter otherwise all my MMO/gaming reviews will get jumbled up with my real life reviews and then we’ll have Valentino Rossi riding a Fierce Battle Hardened Warg in next years MotoGP. Yeah, I get confused easy ;)

So what I ‘ve decided to do is hold my very own little awards ceremony. OK, well that’s a bit of a stretch from the truth as I won’t be holding a ceremony but more a list of things that top my personal list of ‘opinions’. Would be nice to have an awards ceremony, but looking at the lists below, I’m not so sure I could get anyone to attend. As you can see from the title of this post I have decided to call the Awards ‘The Pikeys’. This has absolutely nothing to do with our Irish travelling folk cousins, but more to do with a nickname.


Thought I’d start off with some no-brainers. Of course most of my gaming hours have been ploughed in to Everquest2. As such EQ2 has the honour of having it’s very own awards section here.

Most Played Game: EQ2

Worst EQ2 moment

Nothing real bad, but I think the worst moment I had in EQ2 this year was when I purchased a Master for 120plat. I know it’s not a great deal of money nowadays, but it is if you throw it away. I bought the master after meeting the seller in Sinking Sands, said my thanks and ‘cheerios’, only to find out after I went to scribe it that I already had it. I failed to even notice during the purchase the ‘you have already scribed this ability’. What a complete spanner. I didn’t have the heart to get back in touch with the seller. I just popped it on the broker. In the end I made a 60pp loss. Doofus.

Best EQ2 moment

I think the one of the defining best moments for me this year in EQ2 was the moment I felt I really had achieved something special with Voltaan and his gear. Any who play the game will have their favourite things. One of mine is raiding. I love it, but damn it can be hard work at times. It’s really nice to have a top end toon fully kitted as a result of that commitment and in my case, it’s nice to be changing some opinions where Bruisers are concerned in groups.

BUT. That isn’t my best moment. It came second, but when the votes were in the clear winner by a country mile was my Bro returning to EQ2! Welcome back mate.

Funniest EQ2 moment

Most of the funniest EQ2 moments I had during 2010 were of course with my friends and the general laughs we had. There were so many good times and real ROFLs it’s been very hard to choose indeed. I would say some of the conversations I have had with Jahf over the year on voice have been right up there and would normally take the #1 spot. But, they have been excluded by the adjudicators as mostly the giggles were about real life stuff and this award goes purely to those covering game content.

The winner of the funniest EQ2 moment award are the Acolytes of Valor raids I ran through Ward of Elements during the summer. We really did have an absolute drunken riot pretty much every time we went in there. I still recall the Badger Bum moments with affection.

Most enjoyed ‘non-EQ2’ game of 2010

A tough one. I haven’t played too many other games this year apart from EQ2. I think I could probably list them without taking up too much room. We’ve had Mass Effect, Need for Speed Undercover, Test Drive Unlimited, LoTRO, Rift:Beta, Mount & Blade, Left 4 Dead, Lair, GTA IV, and some others.

The winner is GTAIV. I know it’s been out for a long while now (2008) but aside from EQ2 it’s probably the game I have spent most time on as it’s my ‘pick up’ game. The one when I don’t really know what to do so I head back to the old stalwart. There have been a couple of extremely great additions to GTA IV this year for the PS3. The Lost & the Damned, and The Ballad of Gay Tony. Both absolutely awesome add ons. I love the GTA genre so much, it had no choice but to be #1 when taking EQ2 out of the picture, especially considering the two amazing additions to the GTA IV library this year.

Game I wished I had played more

An easy one this. Mass Effect. An absolute barn stormer of a game and like a naughty school boy not doing my homework, I didn’t spend anywhere near as much time as I would have liked finding out about Shepherds’ story in this superb offering from Bioware. I actually feel guilty about it. I know I should have been playing this more. Something to rectify in 2011 and I also need to get ME2 under my belt before the third episode is released back end of the year.

Biggest disappointment of 2010

I think for me this has to be Mount & Blade:Warband. For months I listened to my buds waxing lyrical about this game in its online format. But man, after 20 minutes I couldn’t gel with it one bit and felt like I was swishing a wet mop around a wetter floor. Achieving absolutely sod all apart from anger and frustration.

Biggest hope for 2011

A real toughy this one. I am looking forward to a fair bit in 2011. But, I reckon, although it’s not confirmed and this statement by Strauss Zelnick (Head of Take Two Interactive) at the start of the year makes it impossible to know for sure;

“We’re not going to announce it. We’re not going to announce when we’re going to announce it. And we’re not going to announce the strategy about announcing it or about when we’re going to announce it either, or about the announcement strategy surrounding the announcement of the strategy. Any other questions?”

But even so most reckon GTA V will be with us by the end of 2011. Yup, that’s what I’m now waiting for.

Well, that’s gaming done for. Time to have a look at some of my opinions concerning real life occurrences. Warning – My strong opinions may be offensive to some. If they are, my apologies to you for any offence, but I do not apologise for my opinion. In addition we may be venturing in to some politics and on the opposite end of the scale a bit of light hearted showbiz.

Real Life

Most wonderfully idiotic statement of the year

"As we work and sightsee on America's largest island, we'll get to view more majestic bears, so now is a good time to draw attention to the political equivalent of the species."

—Sarah Palin on Kodiak Island, off the coast of Alaska.

So what happened to Hawaii Sarah? Methinks we should study the animal that is your political and intellectual equivalent.

This was the only thing I could find that produced as much methane.

Most wonderful statement of the year

I’d like to have used one from our own shores but to be honest I’m not sure any could compete with this.

''In Washington, we know there's a huge difference between a prostitute and a politician. There are some things a prostitute won't do.''

—Sen. Claire McCaskill , 2010 Gridiron Dinner

Biggest disappointment of the year - personal

Valentino Rossi at Mugello, Italy. Breaking his leg and putting pay to an exciting end of the year defending his World title. If this crash hadn’t happened, I’m not so sure the result would have been different, but it would have been a hell of a lot more exciting!

Rossi braking his leg at Mugello. Look at the angle of his right foot
Biggest disappointment of the year – General

I know we are subjected to politicians lying to us pretty much constantly, we get used to it. Some countries rulers just seem not to give a toss at all about how others perceive them. Take Russian Prime Minister Putin and his dealings over the Yukos affair and the subsequent sham of justice they employed. I guess we kinda expect that type of thing from the Kremlin, but when that kind of open dishonesty comes closer to home, it is a real shame and the public degradation of our Government unfolds for all to see in the media. Making us a laughing stock worldwide and our Government totally untrustworthy to the constituents who voted them in. Except in this case, they weren’t voted in. This joker jumped on the Conservative band wagon and by osmosis or some other amazing feat, managed to become involved in the running of our country despite only winning something like 42 seats in Parliament.

Here Nick holds up the pledge he made proudly.
He blatantly and publicly broke it months later.
Yes, I’m talking about Mr Clegg and his amazing turn arounds and the subsequent unrest this caused. I am no supporter of the violent clashes that took place, but what can the Government expect when they quite plainly turn round and say “Yeah, we were lying. We’re actually doing it the opposite way we told you”. You have made a mockery of an already mocked system Mr Clegg. It actually turns out not only did he do a complete U-turn on this signed pledge he made to the students but he was planning to drop the idea before the election even though he had made the pledge. You can read about that debacle here.

My biggest general disappointment of the year by far. It solidified the UKs plummeting reputation on the world stage alongside the scandal of ministers stealing from the public by abusing their expenses allowances. Everyone knew this kinda thing probably went on, but hey, when these kind of issues are broadcast globally, it exposed the UK Government for what it is, a sham. I could go on all day about this. There are just too many issues to cover, the huge debt, the dealing of the financial crisis, the failure to make those responsible pay. Yes, Fat Bankers are getting their HUGE bonuses again, despite the fact they helped put us in the mire in the first place. I’m gonna stop before I get myself all worked up again. But suffice to say, Clegg, and the government in general, you’re the biggest muppets imaginable.

I am aware the Conservative Government has made some steps in the right direction though and their ruthless but gutsy moves to make massive public spending cuts to fight the national debt must be applauded. Oh, er hang on a minute. How come we’re paying for the mess and the Bankers are still getting their multi-million quid paychecks? Nope, I was right the first time. Muppets!

Best Bit!

Time for some cheery stuff, just to stop myself getting all in a rage over the previous award.

There is so much doom and gloom in the world today I couldn’t help, along with millions of others being moved quite dramatically by the scenes we all witnessed in the News when Chilean miners were trapped underground. It was fantastic to see such human compassion and a rallying of folks to assist both physically and financially. I pray the issue and the exposure for these miners only brings them happiness and not all the other nasty things that come with sudden fame.

A fantastic moment that brought out the greater good in folk. Humanity does still exist!

Worst Bit

This category is an easy one to fill and there are many who topped the bill here. Namely all the horrendous natural disasters that occurred this year (and a few not so natural – see BP and oil leaks as an example).

But, I’m mainly thinking here of the hundreds of thousands of lost lives and the terrible aftermath through the Haitian earthquake, the Columbian/Venezuelan floods and mudslides, the Pakistan floods, the Indonesia volcanic eruption/tsunami, the Mexican landslides, and the Philippines Typhoon Megi to name but a few.

Best Movie

On to more cheerful stuff again! The winner is a hugely funny film that had me laughing out loud most of the way through, unlike most comedies nowadays that only make you smirk a couple of times. Yup, congrats to ‘The Hangover’. It also stars one of my fave comedic actors who I first came across in the American Office, Ed Helms.

Best Music

I’m not a huge music fan / buff, but I still have my faves. This year the most played for me must be the Gorillaz new album released in the first quarter of the year, Plastic Beach.

Best Book

This surprisingly enough for me isn’t a novel. The best book I have read all year, so far is BBC News correspondent Martin Sixsmith’s ‘Putins Oil’. I’ve had some pretty heavy involvement with research in to the Russian energy industry this year for my work and the deep set corruption in all levels of official public bodies in Russia is so blatant and open, it’s absolutely astounding. I guess at least they are transparent in their thievery and shenanigans!

Fave TV show

There were a few runners for this category. I’m a big fan of ‘The American Office’, the spin off from the UK series ‘The Office’ by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The US version is absolutely hilarious and I honestly prefer it to the UK version. This was probably going to be my number one, until I actually sat down and thought about it. I really do love the American Office, but I got to thinking what I would do if both this and my other fave, Top Gear were on at the same time, which would I watch? The answer came immediately and without hesitation as Top Gear. The UK motoring programme, although it’s actually more like a lads mag nowadays, is fantastic. If I could ask for any job, it would probably be as a presenter on Top Gear. The programme is top notch with middle aged idiots, well ok not idiots but certainly laddish in their approach, driving all sorts of top end motors at ridiculous speeds in lavish surroundings. Usually. Their Top Gear specials such as the recent Boxing Day, ‘Three Wise Men’ road trip jaunt from the east (Iraq) to the birthplace of baby Jesus in Bethlehem was simply fantastic fun. As was their US road trip (both of them). In fact all of their specials are amazing. The content of the programme always seems to grab me, the guests they have on the show are a load of fun and to top it all off, it’s for petrol heads. Bliss.

I guess I could go on all day with ‘faves’ and ‘worsts’, but I’m going to leave it there because I have rambled on too much and you have probably finished your cuppa and mince pies a while ago. Only one last thing to cover before 2011, my New Years resolution.

This year I think I am going to have to put continuing to write my novel regularly on top of the list. This year I added some great stuff, but not much when you look back and think, “That’s a years work”. So, yeah. More novel indulgence is the resolution.

Have a great New Year and I’ll see you in 2011.

Be well.


  1. Great post mate. Couldn't agree more about Mount & Blade - thats £15 I'll never see again. Also agree with your biggest disappointment - I voted Lib Dem to keep the Tories out, and they turn out to be even worse! Oh well, lesson learned.

  2. Thanks Guys! :)

    Mere, shhh...don't tell anyone that!! You'll have all the local students demonstrating outside your house *grin*. And yeah, 'Mount & Blade' should have been called 'Too much paid'.