Sunday, December 31, 2006

Argent Dawn Reputation

My mage is pretty decked out, I don't have my full set by any means but I have a few purples. So I decided what the heck, let me see if I can solo some scholomance mobs for Argent Dawn Reputation? Well I'll be damned I can. If I am careful I can lock down or sheep one mob and take another then take the locked/sheeped mob. Now, usually I would just join a group or something but I don't feel like it right now. Instances are way too long for my attention span.

So what have I gotten in the last 15 minutes?
55+ Argent Dawn Reputation
6 Gold (not bad huh?)
5 Invader's Scourgestones
5 Bone Fragments
9 Runecloth
Other sellable trash.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Nightly Grind

My nightly focus for weeks now has been getting my wife's priest up to raid/expansion level. Each night we go through several quests in a rather short amount of time and on average we achieve at least 1 to 1 & 1/2 level of experience for her. (60 Mage + AoE + Priestly Healing Goodness = Ass-Stompage)

Anyway, we both started with a pair of 60 hunters (dwarf for me night elf for her) and we've found that hunters were overpopulated and underappreciated in the end-game. We switched, Mages are the best sought after DPS and Priests... well if your group refuses the help of a priest there's something wrong with your brain.

Priests are in such high demand it's not funny. When I am on my priest I get so many random whispers of people asking me if I will join their group for an instance or quest run that I now understand what DO NOT DISTURB is for. Turds. If I were looking for a group I would use the tool (unlike the tards that are still hanging out in the LFG channel that someone made up.)

I said it in a previous post, and I will say it again. The success of the LFG tool depends on people using it. It is much more useful than the tool in D&D Online I can say first hand. I like the ability to queue myself up for several instances and wait for a group to pop up. Still idiots insist on clinging to the old familiar spam-chat that is LFG and who'ing for people to bother. Get STUFFED.

Anyway back to the priestly ways, so we've gotten her to level 45 & 1/2 and I think we may be able to get her to 60 before the expansion. (Especially if I can get my brother and his friends off of their collective butts and onto their level 60 mains. We have a balanced group:

Stormrage Server
60 Warrior (40's Rogue Alt) with several set peices and a purple sword from ony.
60 Paladin (60 Warrior Alt) with several set peices also
60 Druid (40's Pally and 40's Rogue Alt) again with several set peices
60 Mage (60 Hunter Alt) with more than a few purples and some set items
45 Priest (60 Hunter Alt) with more than 700g you can't help but be a twink, she's decked!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The choice of the new game generation

I must say with my wife and I now having a pair of rather beautiful 19" widescreen monitors we are quite impressed with WoW's widescreen support. It is very handy to have a bit of extra viewing space to play with. Makes for some very interesting mod space.

If you have the chance to get a widescreen monitor I recommend it for any world of warcraft player!

We sing the praises of NWN2

Okay, so I haven't played NWN2 enough to really sing it's praises. One thing I can't wait to experience is the multiplayer side of it. Currently I am waiting for a specific server to stand up so I can play on a dedicated world. The URL escapes me now but I will post it later.

My Dungeons and Dragons group Gone4DnD (with the exception of my wife, she's too hooked with WoW) plans on creating a group of adventurers to play test the realm.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wild Weekend Fun

While I have been playing WoW for quite some time there are certain standards that I have adhered to for various reasons. When I create a new character (usually an alliance character) I do the human quests regardless of what race the character is. I found myself growing bored with my characters and I realized that the reason why is because I follow the same pattern with them. So how to break the standard?

Night Elf Druid - Instead of heading right to the human area with my night elf I decided to stick around and do the night elf quests. What I have come up with is this, the night elf areas are large and expansive. Doing the quests here takes a bit longer because of the fact that you have to do a lot of running.

Dwarf Hunter - I stuck around until Loch Modan, I couldn't stand it because of the running that is required once you start doing the Loch Modan quests. It takes way too long to gather what you need and kill what you have to then run all the way back.

Human Mage - The human areas are tightly packed (for the most part) and the quests are all grouped together in similar areas. More frequently than I have seen for any of the other alliance races (gnomes don't count since they don't have their own area) human quests are grouped together.

Take Westfall for example: All of the westfall quests have their own counterpart (in most instances). The quest to gather hops can be completed while killing harvest reapers and other golems. Westfall Stew and Goretusk Liver Pie can be completed together along with the harvest reaper quest. Killing the Defias mobs while gathering bandanas or looking for the messenger. The list goes on, don't get me wrong I am not saying that other areas don't have quests of their own I am merely saying that these quests are more frequent on the human side.

This weekend I did something out of the ordinary for me, I created an Undead Rogue. My wife was gone for the weekend and I was bored. I have found that the quests for the undead are quite similar (in grouping) to the humans. While they are not all as closely packed they are much more gathered than for Taurens and Orcs/Trolls. Other than the beta test where my primary character was an Undead Warlock named CrazyLarry I haven't played any horde past level 21. I hope to change that with my Rogue.

Tauren Shaman - Not exactly packed tight, these quests are spread out across a vast plane that the Tauren inhabit. It takes a bit of running to do most of the quests that you are given up to the point where you are thrust into the barrens.

Undead Rogue - The Forsaken quests are more closely grouped than those of the other races in my opinion. While watching the first two seasons of Smallville I got my undead rogue up to level 16 in one day. For casual playing while watching DVD's that isn't a bad progression.

Orc Hunter - The amount of running required in the starting area for the orcs reminds me of the dwarven area in some ways. You run around doing a crapload of outside quests, then you go into a cave and do a few quests then you're off to the next town.

I may be wrong but it seems like the humans and the undead have a bit of an advantage quest-wise. I have found that I can level any class quicker in the human area (for alliance) or the undead area (for horde) quicker than I can level a race in their own area. That could be the familiarity factor or it could be that those races have a geographical advantage. Who knows?

General Areas: I am so tired of the Stranglethorn Vale area that I'd like to scream every time I run across even a simple potted plant. Blizzard needs to get the hint and create a few more mid-range areas to quest in. On that note I have never really liked the barrens area ether, it involves a lot of running around as well. I was hoping that in the expansion they would surprise us and release some new content for mid-range instead of just new starting areas and new high-level areas. Things are getting really bland on the leveling side of the house. What we get are two new races, two new 1-20 (or so) starting areas and a bunch of high-level content. Something has to give here, I don't want to loose interest in my (and my wife's) favorite game but you can only slaughter trolls and basilisks for so long. I usually progress through my faction's general area and then move on to arathi then STV, then the plaguelands or where ever I can find a few quests. My wife has taken to instance farming/leveling with her characters. Her Priest didn't leave the stockades until she was close to her 30's.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Response to a Question

The requestor of this information wishes to remain anonymous. The question posed was what games have I tested and how do I get accepted into said games? This list is not comprehensive, I don’t remember everything I’ve tested throughout the years.

Risk Online
Anarchy Online
World of Warcraft
Dungeons and Dragons Online
World of Warcraft (I put it twice because I really like it.)
Saga of Ryzom
Diablo 2
Faces of Man (or something like that, it was horrible)

Things to remember: (And some etiquette to beta testing)
1.) Beta tests are not for free play, they are mainly for troubleshooting
a. Reporting Bugs
b. Suggestions
c. Gameplay/Environment Issues
Even though you’re playing a game, it’s not all about fun and games; you’re there to facilitate improvements and changes in the game. If you don’t report bugs people will stop accepting you into beta tests. Most companies do check if such logs and reports are available.

2.) Know when to recognize a bug
a. Know how to use an imaging program
b. Dabble into programming
Imaging programs helps for graphical glitches and visual bug representation. Screen shot submissions are sometimes required when performing submissions but even if it isn’t you’re better off showing someone than just trying to explain in words. Programming isn’t entirely necessary but I can look at an error message and generally tell you what is at fault.

3.) Always be truthful in testing
a. Report all bugs, no matter how minor
b. Never lie on an application
c. Give feedback, and give it honestly!
d. Remember that you’re in a BETA
Never lie on your application. A company will not want everyone with the same vanilla configuration on their machine and indeed sometimes those with the uber-mega-self assembled machine will get rejected in favor of someone with lower end hardware to give more of a variety of testers. DO NOT FORGE A LIST OF GAMES, never ever do that. It's hardly even a requirement but when you have done some testing, it helps a bit. When you find a bug, report it through the proper channels (ether in game or in the forums) every little bit of input and detail counts for these guys. When asked to give feedback (or even when you’re not asked, give it anyway) be honest with your answers. If you didn’t like the quest that’s fine but why didn’t you like it? Think about your answers before you type (I know that I suffer from keyboard Tourette’s syndrome from time to time too). Always, always remember that you’re testing a game that is not completely finished, hence BETA, ALPHA, etc. Some things may not work, there will be disconnects and patches and waiting and LAG from hell. Don’t get all bent out of shape.

Programming is not a precise art, the wrong punctuation or word can mess up an entire game. Don’t bitch about things not working or patch downloads, etc. There are good reasons for it. I program and from a developer point of view it stinks. I take my hat off to those that do it full time successfully.

Credit where it's due.

Reading a post on Tobold's game-blog was what caused me to start blogging. And reading a post he put up about a few of his readers that started a blog reminded me to give him his credit, kudos my man. By far, at this point he has much more informative blogs on his site. Worth a read!

Also, a call out to bloggers. Send me your blog address and I will add it onto my links section, we're a community here! :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Yar, here there be short people with fuzzy toes!

Game: Lord of the Rings Online
Subject: Beta Testing

Since I agreed to an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) I can't give any details. Here is what I can say:

Keep in mind, this is the BETA test.
Graphics - 8/10
-Very good graphics and visual effects. (I wish I could say more)

Sound - 5/10
-Needs work, but again this is the beta.

Questing System - ?/10
-I haven't been able to play very much.

Classes - Unable to comment at this time
-I have only experienced one class

Races - As on the website, no changes. Customization options are a bit limted.
-Along with the class, I have only experienced one race.

The only reason why I am not still playing is the LAG. First night up, of course people are going to flood the server. Stress testing is supposed to do that. I really wish I could say more about my first impression tonight.

A fine good morning.

I really mean that. If you haven't seen the new trailer for the Burning Crusade you have to see it. If you don't play WoW and this doesn't make you want to play wow your imagination needs work.

Click Here

I must say, I am so excited that trailer gave me the willies. I can't wait to create one of the two new races.
Blood Elves - Once a trusted ally of the alliance, their lust for power changed them (and their allegiance) irrevocably. Untrusted by the alliance they have joined the horde and continue to search for new avenues of power.

Draenei - They have a long and bloody history with the Burning Legion. Long story but the background makes sense to me.

I can't wait to play! Pre-ordered Collector's Edition here I come!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Patches! We don't need no stinking patches!

Game: World of Warcraft
Subject: Patch 2.0.1 (Pre-Burning Crusade)

Wow, just wow. There are so many new implementations here that my head spins just thinking about it. Let’s take this one at a time by the things I have currently experienced after the patch.

PVP: The changes in PvP caused a massive influx of people logging in to the battlegrounds. I have screenshots that show damn near 200 open battlegrounds on each instance. (Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin and Alterac Valley) For those of you who don’t PvP or play WoW let me explain.
Warsong Gulch (WSG) – Classic CTF (Capture the Flag) each team tries to grab one another’s flag and return it to their flag (which must be present to capture). By far the Horde dominates this market, I rarely win a WSG.
Arathi Basin (AB) – Capture Objectives, in order to win this battleground you have to accumulate 2000 resources first. To do that you have to capture several of five objectives; the farm, the blacksmith, the lumber mill, the stables and the mine are the five buildings in question. Again, the horde usually dominates this arena. It’s hard to get your team to split into three groups and hold three objectives.
Alterac Valley (AV) – Capture buildings; kill the opposing faction’s commander. This is fun but repetitive just like the others. The alliance seems to dominate this one but I think that this is because of geography more than anything.

Honor System: I enjoyed my brief boost of honor, not enough to get the full pvp set but I did get my PvP mount. (I can’t afford to train the riding yet though) I don’t agree with the reduction in honor points that I have heard about. Blizzard made PvP too popular and now they are taking the candy away from the babies out there that can’t handle their advantage being taken away. I didn’t pick up any of the set yet, and as a matter of fact I don’t even have my full dungeon set (The Magister’s Regalia). I for one would love to have the whole set in a week, but I know why blizzard has reduced the honor rewards. Balancing the game is great but the whiny ass-mites out there are going to complain until they’re blue in the face.
PvP Rewards: Ah the smell of a new set of Epic Armor. The prices are high but with the amount of honor you were gaining before you could have gotten your whole set in a week or two with no issues. No problems with the rewards changes all-in-all. Maybe too many marks required? Any commentary on that?

Talents, Mage, Frost: I love my frost mage; ice spells give more mob and crowd control options to keep your enemies ether slow or off you entirely. It is average in PvP as most times you have to focus on who does the most damage first. The new frost talents are useful for the most part.

Talents, Hunter, Marksmanship: Damage, damage and more damage. I can 3-5 shot the ‘squishy’ classes every time. The sheer amount of damage possible with hunters is sickening even for someone who plays them. I like it.

Looking For Group: I personally love the looking for group system. The players, on the other hand, tend to leave the group if you don’t have more than two people in already. (Which defeats the purpose of the tool, idiots.) If players would stick around more it would be better but right now no one is using it as much as they should.

Problems: As with all software and patches on such a grand scale problems are to be expected. So are the inevitable complaints. It takes someone who knows absolutely nothing to make such crass and unfounded commentary. Here are some things to remember.

1.) Compatibility: With so many different types of computer equipment out there the combination of software vs. hardware is enough to make any programmer want to hurl and refrain from finishing his super-genius-mega software package. Even if you test all of the manufactured computers out there remember that there are people that have built their own rigs, and who says an active Photoshop dll file can’t conflict with World of Warcraft?

2.) Backwards Compatibility: You could come up with a wonderful feature with your software, but what happens when someone forgets to include support (or functionality) with something else that already exists?

3.) Human Error: Anyone who bitches about Blizzard not getting their patches right is effectively claiming that their shit doesn’t stink. It does. You can’t be right all the time; I am the epitome of Murphy’s Law. I also program. Do the math.

4.) Scale: Remember something else here: This is, for the most part, a GLOBAL launch (don’t bitch in semantics; I don’t care if X country can’t subscribe to WoW. Everyone who plays wow, around the ‘globe’ is getting this patch.) That’s a staggering feat.

This patch marks the first step in the giant leap that will be the Burning Crusade. Flying mounts, new dungeons, new races, new quests, new content, new items and new fun! My wife and I have preordered the Collector’s Edition of the Burning Crusade from We can’t wait.

All-in-all, from what I have seen Blizzard has done a good job at implementing the new changes. No one is perfect in any respect though, they will iron out the bugs.

A general opinion on PvP and Factions: It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that a large majority of the alliance players out there are kids or like the asthesic value of pretty characters and scenery. (Don’t get me wrong, I love great scenery and even my wife says that the boobs on the alliance females are great.) I think that’s why the horde wins more battles, they are older, and more experienced and can follow orders. It makes things easier when your team mates can follow orders. Raids usually work out better when people follow orders and have the common sense to do what the leader is doing.

How hard is it to stick together in groups of five in AB? How hard is it to have someone defend the flag in WSG? How hard is it to STICK TOGETHER in AV? Show-boating just gets everyone screwed. The more I type the more agitated I get. I hate it when people don’t follow orders like they should.

And then there was Online Gameplay.

My goal is opinions and reviews, nothing more. As time permits I will add more content to the blog and I welcome commentary by all means. Jut remember what they say about opinions.

As a start, let me explain where I come from and why I decided to drop yet another gamer blog out there. Keep in mind that this is quick and dirty for now until I paste more info into it.

I started with the old MS-Dos games, Corncob Deluxe (Flight Sim, don't ask) is the oldest game I remember owning. I migrated through the years on to more advanced games such as the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game series. Menzoberranzan was my favorite but I bought the whole package. Master of Magic, Master of Orion, X-Com 1,2,3,4,5 (Although 4 and 5 were not popular and were not labeled 4 and 5).

Things changed when I picked up Quake 1. Ah, Quake 1 with The Wheel of Time Mod (Converted to Fantasy Quake), Fortress, Team Fortress, Future vs. Fantasy (My personal favorite). At one point there was a group of us gaming together on the same few servers.

His_Grandma / Yo Daddy: He who I calleth 'Teh Dave'. Dave was an odd character that enjoyed watching such phrases as 'Ultra733T rides His_Grandma's rocket'. Dave migrated to the name 'Yo Daddy' in the Quake 2 and Quake 3 days so he could shout. "Don't talk back to Yo Daddy son!" Dave never left the FPS gamer stage, he loves CounterStrike way too much.

BudIcePenguin / Heathen Yak / Yak: The Yak is an interesting character; he was quite prolific at slaughtering the masses. Many a night Yak and I spent killing countless enemies in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, Warcraft II and the Dark Portal Expansion. Quake 1 was by far our gaming peak. Yak is currently floating in and out of gamer status dabbling in the MMORPG gaming arena. Dungeons and Dragons Online was his last big venture.

Me: I have been known by many names, BudweiserFrog, TheFrog, Psychedelic_Frog, FrogDaddy, The_Fool, iD-Psychofrog, Darkwatcher, Nightwinter, Mr. Gone, Lord Nightwinter. The list goes on and on beyond the mere comprehension of the mortal mind. Which is why I am out of my gourd per say.

I have played it all, and by ‘it all’ I mean every genre and every console, not every game out there. When Diablo came out, gaming changed dramatically. Sure, online gaming was possible but this was something way different and blizzard (in my opinion) was one of the primary pioneers in this industry. Diablo, for quite some time, was a religion for us. We gathered in the chat rooms and talked ‘smack’ to one another for hours and played just as long attempting to oust each other from our gaming thrones. Diablo started the real changes in gaming and from there it got better and worse at the same time.

Online gaming is now more of a religion than Christianity is. Complete with rituals, taboos and your average zealot. For a long time I was resentful to the fact that all game companies started dropping into the Massive Multiplayer Gold Rush. Everyone wanted to create one of these major cash cows and everyone had their own angle. Bring me back to the days of the good old (and free) mud. I can read quite fast so it doesn’t phase me and I have a very active imagination so I can imagine the words flowing across the screen as a sword thrust or a fireball charring the flesh of my enemies. Anyway, enough of that and back to the matter at hand.

Now for the list of significant games I have played. (Not to say others are insignificant per se)

Ultima Online: Good old UO, I played this for a little while on free shards across the vast network that is the internet. I enjoyed my brief stay but the call of better graphics soon made me diverge.

Everquest: I tested EQ for a while, after that I didn’t play often. EQ was interesting and very involved. As I don’t have a whole lot of experience at this game I can’t comment very heavily on it.

World of Warcraft: (Beta Tested) Barring all the in-betweens World of Warcraft was my ‘next step’ in gaming. I beta tested WoW but I didn’t create an account automatically. I knew the fever would hit me as soon as I began playing the beta. World of Warcraft is one of those time-consuming efforts that could have you loosing your job, your wife (if you have one) or just your entire life (if you have one) in general.

Planetside: (Beta Tested) I closely relate this to Quake on a global scale. Blasting the crap out of your opponents is fun, for a time anyway. Eventually it gets old, no matter how many different weapons and vehicles you can train yourself in. Definitely a good time waster though.

Everquest 2: The graphics are alright, Everquest, contrasting with wow goes for a more realistic approach to graphics. The developers definitely put some time into EQ2 but I didn’t get very far in before I decided that it wasn’t my taste. I am not a fan of the debt system first off, and I know there are players out there that think it makes the game but I don’t like my hard earned XP being taken away when someone drags a bunch of mobs into me and dies. (Just a representation, which happens more in WoW than anything) I played long enough to get a Froglok and a Kerra up to level 15.

City of Heroes: CoH is fun, I love the superhero aspect of this game but soloing is difficult depending upon the class you take. Since I am more of a solo person I didn’t get a character over level 12. My blaster was great to play when I didn’t get debt after trying to take on a huge group of enemies while hovering several feet above the ground. The graphics are a bit sub-par but for customization options there is no equal. I found myself being drawn into creating characters that I thought looked cool. My blaster even won a player-run competition, giving me several hundred thousand influence (Influence is akin to hero gold so-to-speak) to play with.

Star Wars Galaxies: SWG was a Novelty. I love Star Wars, what geek doesn’t? I found myself making a crafter and sitting him out in the middle of no where gathering resources. Other than that I hardly touched the game. The graphics are low quality and the gameplay wasn’t fun at all.

The Matrix Online: Interesting is the opportune word here. The system is a bit quirky and there really isn’t any guesswork or excitement. You pick your action and the server tells you if you hit or not. I must say that it was definitely a good effort. The quests are always the same and very dry, you can only invade so many office buildings before you start worshipping bob the stapler god.

Everquest Online Adventures: (Beta Tested) Crap, I hate MMO games on consoles. End of story, don’t pass go, don’t collect $200.

Middle Earth Online: (Selected for Beta Testing) This looks promising but I don’t know yet. Beta starts tomorrow but I doubt it will steal my focus from wow. I don’t like the lack of spellcasting classes; however, I realize that the game isn’t based in a high-magic setting. How many Gandalf-clones would pop up here? I would be horrified, mortified and constipated if that were to happen.

Dungeons and Dragons Online: (Beta Tested) Being a very avid Dungeons and Dragons player (and coming from the old school where Elf and Dwarf were your class), I was very excited to try this game out. When I was selected as a tester I was aquiver with anticipation, this was the pinnacle of my gaming career. I set myself up for a bit of disappointment. Don’t get me wrong the game was great but I am a solo player, whereas Dungeons and Dragons is a game based on Team Effort. The developers did a bang-up job translating the pen and paper game into something electronic, I will give them that.

Down to the reason why I decided to create yet another gamer blog:
Because I want to, plain and simple. I am not looking to revolutionize the blogging or gaming or blogging-gamer or the game-blogging industry I just want to share my impressions with everyone else. Simple enough, I’ll post more as I have time to work on it.