Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Real Observation

I was able to log in last night. Happy day. Of course, as expected, my UI was a mess. I also didn't really have a lot of time, so my goal wasn't to actually do anything. Instead, I was just logging in to spend some talent points, get a brief glimpse of the new game, and ogle spell effects.

I took a screenshot of what I did with my spec, then promptly forgot I did it. It's strange in that I find myself echoing the sentiment I've seen expressed elsewhere. Namely, the choices don't really matter... but they do. They do but they don't. It's hard to explain.

Since you only have 5 choices these days, I suppose a list will suffice. Shiny pictures are more interesting, to be sure, but I forgot mine at home. Also, the felhunter ate. He was pissed when I summoned a big eyeball in his place. Here's what I did, with some thoughts:
  • Harvest Life - Because AoE is cool. I may not use this in PvE, and end up switching. Not sure yet. Just couldn't resist the shiny.
  • Shadowfury - I've always wanted a stun on my aff'lock. I've gotten used to not having Howl of Terror, so I don't really feel like I'm giving anything up.
  • Soul Link - I want to share my misery with my pet, not take it all out on him. Some misery keeps me on my toes.
  • Burning Rush - Because it's fun and feels Warlocky.
  • Grimoire of Supremecy - This is the only that gives you the big floating eyeball pet, right? If I plan to use my demon, it made sense to buff it. It might be statistically wrong.
That's all. I'm not sure how much these choices matter yet, but it's what I'm starting with.

I glyphed, too. Just did it with what I had. There may be some new glyphs I need to get. I think I ended up like this:
  • Major: Soul Swap - I like swapping dots, so I kept this one.
  • Major: Life Tap - I was curious to see how this works. Haven't really tried it yet.
  • Major: Siphon Life - Gotta have the self heal component, or it's just not Warlocky.
  • Minor: Verdant Spheres - Green balls > Purple Shards. Plus I like vampires.
  • Minor: Soulwell - Green glowing? What's not to like (well maybe a useful effect, but w/e)
  • Minor: Eye of Kilrogg - Coolest change ever! More on this in a second.
Okay, I did most of this from memory (and can't check resources sites at work), so forgive me if I wrote something dumb. It's probably a mistake. Comment and I'll fix it when I get a chance. Also, at some point I'll make a proper guide (updating the old ones), but it'll probably be old hat by then. I always do the guides for myself (that is, I like having things to refer to, and typing it out helps me learn it). If you find your awesomeness elsewhere, I'm not offended. I realize slow blogger is slow.

I wanted to highlight the Eye of Kilrogg change today because it just may be the coolest change ever. In my super in depth skimming, I did not see this change pointed out very clearly. Maybe others have missed it like I did. It's also not all that useful for damage... but oh, the possibilities.

The change is the very last sentence of the tooltip. It lets you know that you can now use your Eye of Kilrogg to drop your demonic circle. I felt the urge to immediately test this. My character was standing next to one of the castle turrets in Stormwind. I summoned the eye (which can fly, thanks to the glyph), and sent it up on the level above. Then I dropped my circle, returned to my body, and ZAP... ported up to the turret.

There have got to be like a bajillion ways to take advantage of this new (admittedly minor) change. If nothing else, it's going to be fun to play around with. Now, I know, it has limitations, so you probably won't be able to actually do anything that "matters," but the concept of sending my eye into a bedroom in an inn, standing on the other side, and then porting through the felling wall... that appeals to me.

Sure, I could have just walked around. But it's the principle of the thing! I'm sure cleverer folks than I will come up with some completely awesome uses. We'll see. I just thought it was worth pointing out.

(Side note - I really would like to use this to sneak up on someone. "Oh, look, there's an eye--BAM Warlock. Oh noes!" /cackle. I probably need to macro so that I teleport away. /strokeschin.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WoW Patch Report - TL;DP

That stands for "Too Long; Didn't Play," and is an accurate representation of how my patch day went. Not only that, but the massive download drove my League of Legends ping through the roof. Even on a separate computer. Apparently the download is a bandwidth hog.

So I turned off the updater when I was at the computer playing LoL. I brought it back up on both computers before I went to bed, and let 'em work through the night. Everything appears to have downloaded properly, so tonight I'm hoping I can jump on for a bit. We'll see because I also have a fantasy football draft tonight.

Aside: Here's a different between gamers and fantasy sports folks. When logging into our live draft, apparently the live draft servers were all down. The error that pops up (our league is hosted by Yahoo), claims that you may have a firewall issue. But as a gamer, I know better. We develop a second sense for server weakness, am I right?

Sure enough, the forums explode with traffic. "I don't use a firewall, what's the dillio?" Etc, etc. Fantasy sports folks immediately get defensive. I.E. - "I swear, I didn't do anything. Just tell me what buttons to press and I'll do it." It's like a masked bandit is holding their loved ones ransom. Or maybe they're the lone civilian trying to disarm a bomb over the phone.

Gamers immediately get offensive. Like we think we're John Rambo or something I.E. - "Wtf, devs. Get your shit together. It's launch day motha-" And then we dress up in our best Call of Duty cosplay and take angry pictures with giant images of the devs photoshopped in.

(Okay, I've never done that, but I'll bet someone has.)

Stupid live draft servers. It ended up auto-drafting for everyone, which pissed everyone off. So we blew up the league, formed a new one, and rescheduled our draft for tonight. Here's hoping the servers will work this time.

So yeah, we'll see how tonight goes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

LoL - Almost Twenty

Ima write about League of Legends today. Because, you know, there's nothing big happening in WoW or anything. It's not like there's some giant patch of doom dropping today that will completely change the way I play my class. Not at all. I'm completely not going to talk about that.

"Talk about what?" you might ask. "Exactly," I reply.

(In all fairness, I imagine we'll all be sick of WoW stuff by the end of the week. Once I get some game time, I'll be jumping on that bandwagon... but I'm already behind.)

It's been a bit since I've talked about LoL. I'm approaching level 20 right now. I'm not sure if that's a milestone, other than being another 10 levels closer to 30. 30, of course, being max and when you can play ranked stuffs.

I actually streamed some of the professional circuit games over the weekend. It was pretty interesting. I thought they did a good job with the coverage. It was nerdy, but not silly. To me, that means "good." I think there's always a danger of pro-gaming coverage jumping the shark, so to speak. It can get pretty crazy, and every game has special lingo. The coverage for LoL was layman enough that a newb like me could understand. Plus, as a player, the discussion and strategy was interesting. I didn't watch for a long time (I had games of my own to play, mind you), but the bit I did consume was pleasant. I suppose you could say this is unexpected. I don't have a whole lot of experience watching pro-gaming.

The coverage whetted my appetite for ranked matches. All of a sudden, I wanted to be 30 and playing "real" games. Then the game corrected my over-eagerness. My random team was steamrolled by the opposition. One of those crushing games where you contemplate returning to the safer AI pastures (only for a moment, though).

I think that I've become pretty deadly with Morgana. Also, I feel pretty competent in the solo-mid slot. There are a few champs that counter my play well, but otherwise I feel in control. I've been trying, then, to branch out. I've been attempting to play more on Miss Fortune, getting used to the AD play style. Sometimes I'm still sent mid, but generally I end up in a lane with someone. This is good for me to learn as well.

On any given night, my rotation sort of works like this. Morgana first. If we get a win, I queue up as MF next. I get a win on her, I try one of the free champs. Lately, that has been Twisted Fate. TF has a completely fun play style, but I don't feel very effective on him. Great if you consider me support. Poor if you're looking for me to carry.

Is is odd that I enjoy playing the support role? I'm more than happy to let someone else carry and rack up the assists. Don't know why, just find it more fun. I'm getting pretty good at initiating a battle and letting others clean up.

I still fail at melee, have no idea how to jungle, and think the Dominion map gives me the shakes (it's so much faster!). In short, I'm definitely still a newb.

I was reminded of that last night, when some fellow who claimed to be smurfing (playing an alternate, low level summoner in order to "wreck noobs," as he put it), proceeded to rant at all of us for how awful we were. He (I'm assuming male, consider me biased) was actually playing TF, so from experience I knew that he wasn't exactly exhibiting all-pro game play. In fact, the only thing he seemed to be excelling at was feeding the opposing team.

I do this thing in PvP; it's very "zen" of me. Basically, when someone calls me a newb, I completely cop to it. I say something along the lines of, "Yes, I am new to this game. What would you rather I do?" Generally, I get the exceedingly helpful, "Not suck" back. Or some variation thereof. It doesn't really bother me. Sort of like when they move to the next line of verbal sparring... calling me a "fag."

Now, I'm not gay, but I have some good friends who are. They rank among the best folk I've had the fortune to meet in this life. Several of them, y'all could probably meet and have no idea they are gay. I know that's shocking... you can't always count on a lisp or assless rainbow chaps. Darn. Point being, when someone calls me gay, I don't really see it as a bad thing. Or, rather, I've certainly be called worse (or maybe, more accurately for me, I'm not always called better). I have a wife. I don't need to prove my sexuality to anyone else, and trust me, she's well aware of how I roll. In fact, she'd probably prefer I "roll" a little less often.

So, generally I just accept the gay remark. I may even go along with it. Why not? Anyone that truly cares to know about me already does. I'm not exactly hiding here on my very public blog(s). I don't care what Nerdrage Smurf thinks in his infinite wisdom.  So, usually, I shoot for measured and rational responses to the rage. I know it's pointless, but it amuses me.

Like last night, when I said, "Well, if you're going to go slumming, you shouldn't be surprised to catch the clap."

He didn't get it, high ELO rating be damned.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pre Patch Shout Out

I'm going to talk some more about the impending patch today. I know I'm being a bit of a hypocrite, seeing as how I so recently indicated my intention to wait until after the patch. Still, I feel a bit of a responsibility to all the single warlocks (all the single warlocks) out there. Also, if you like it then you should have put a shard on it. Just sayin'.

I've just got two quick links for you today from 'locks who are more proactive than I. Good articles, worth at least a skim. Nothing I think ruins the post-patch day exploration novelty.

First is from Saga again at Spellbound. This is a great visual post, detailing the spell effects that have been changed. I'm still going to "ooh" and "aah" when I first see these in-game. Seeing them in a screenshot just whetted my appetite.

I can't help but be a bit disappointed that the Demo and Destro resource effects are so cool, and all Affliction gets is some floaties over our heads? Am I reading that wrong? I want glowy hands or to be felling set on fire. Hopefully, in-game our balls will be more impressive on display. I mean, shards. Shards.

The second post is from Amijade at Warlockery. Here you can find a few great tips to surviving patch day. Like Amijade, I've been through several expansions now (starting of in TBC as well), so I can vouch for the tips. I think the most important thing to remember is that things will change. We've yet to see an expansion that hasn't produced a myriad of hotfixes and post-patches to re-balance some things. Despite extensive testing, there is nothing like running software through the ringer of live gameplay. Don't fall in love with any one item right away.

Otherwise, have fun. Change can be fun, and things will stabilize soon enough. Enjoy the flux while it happens.

(Hopefully we'll get a few days of being OP. Then again, avoiding the nerf bat is an equally laudable goal, methinks.)

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Big Patch

It's Friday, thank the Light. This week has been arduous to say the least. I'm sure, like me, you're anxious to kick off your weekend. I won't keep you long, just a few quick thoughts to throw in that empty lunch pail.

There's a big patch coming. I've done zero preparation for it. None. Exactly like the amount of sex allowed in the Champagne Room. So I really have no advice to offer.

That's not true. Here's something. Wanna do something crazy? Go into a giant patch blind.

It could be beneficial. You'll have to figure stuff out on your own. You will form your own, unbiased opinions. THEN take to the webz. See what you got wrong, what you nailed. That's what I plan to do next week.

That's also why I tagged a recent 'locky post by Saga. It appears, via quick surface skim, that this is a great summary of the Warlock changes. I'm tagging it here with plans to revisit it once I've had my own experiences. If you simply can't wait (maybe you need to be ready for a raid or something), I'd recommend checking it out.

In other, unrelated news, I've still been playing a lot of LoL. I'm pretty deadly on Morgana, and I've been working on Miss Fortune to round out my skills. My mindset is better suited for ranged champions (I'll work on melee at some point), so I wanted to have a solid AP and AD champion that I was comfortable with. The higher you get in level, the more important a balanced team seems to be.

I also got the chance to play a bit on Twisted Fate. I'll be honest, his similarity to Gambit drew me in. I was not disappointed. He doesn't have the same creole accident, but he is a lot of fun. Pretty challenging, too. I'm tempted to buy him, but really I should be saving my IP. At least, I think I should.

Friday is almost over! Here's hoping to a fun, lazy weekend before the Big Patch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Will Be Left?

Short post today. I have a few ill-formed thoughts to get off my chest. They're responses to recent reading, in general. That is to say, this stuff is everywhere. No one particular article is causing this reaction. In fact, I suspect it is in the deluge itself that we will find my spark of motivation.

I can't help but read yet another article about what to expect in MoP without asking: "What will be left?" I've been doing this blogging thing for a good handful of years now. I started in TBC. This will be my, what, third expansion? Yeah, that sounds about right. And I swear that I've never seen such extensive pre-expansion coverage.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I'm not saying it's a particularly good thing, either. I've always refused to blog about things that might happen, preferring instead to apply my brain only when something makes it live. Again, I'm not saying this is the right way to be, it's just how I've been. It's hard for me to get amped about "maybes." My heart has been broken by devs too often in the past. I'm a cautious lover.

Again, I ask, "What will be left?" When I break my self-imposed silence? When I'm ready to dig in? When I find the familiar comfort of commitment?

The answer, staring back at me in each of these pre-x-pac articles, is nothing. It will all have been covered. No stone unturned, as they say.

Especially warlocks. There are some wonderful new bloggers. The coverage is much, much better than when I showed up in TBC (or at least it seems that way... maybe I've just learned where to look). What's more, warlocks have been so starved for changes to discuss over the last expansion, they can't help but devour all of the new information. We've had nothing to talk about for so long. Is it any wonder there will only be rehashing left when the changes go live?

I don't think it'll stop me from rehashing. In fact, I'll probably pretend like it's all new to me because, honestly, it is. Not only do I not write about potential changes, I don't really read about them as well. I skim. I get the general idea, but I don't let it close to my heart. If I seem clueless when this stuff drops, it's probably because I am.

In other, semi-related news, I liked the cinematic. There has been a lot of criticism leveled at it, but I think it was perfect. Very "Orcs and Humans," which I think is a promising direction in which to head. Oh yeah, and toss in a panda.

Sure, I wouldn't have minded a dragon-elf-in-metal-bikini tease. Or maybe even some Jaina Proudmoore tears face time. Perhaps it's misogynistic of me (or maybe I've been reading too much Rivs), but women generally make things more fun. Take that as you will.

I find myself a bit glad they didn't try to go with some big baddy. I know it makes for a more focused expansion when you have a meanie to fix in your sights. Personally, I thought Deathwing fell flat because the Lich King was such a great villain. Sure, I mean, Deathwing was cool... but how do you top Arthas? If you're a fan of Warcraft (in general, not just WoW), the LK was the ultimate bad guy. Blizz can pull old gods out of hat, spawn a flight of evil dragons, take us to a cosmic alternate realm of demons... it won't top the LK. Arthas was one of us. Anything else is just impersonal.

Maybe if Jaina went evil now and we could kill her...

Monday, August 20, 2012

GenCon 2012 Report

The end of last week was gloriously busy. I say glorious because it was not due to work, or any other lame time sink. Nay, this was-eth GenCon! We had a blast submersing ourselves in nerd culture for four days. (At what other point will you witness Batman chasing Bane through a local eatery and no one bats an eye?(HA BAT, GET IT?!))

I don't have a lot of time today, as I'm catching up on all the work I missed (I wouldn't say I missed it, Bob), so I just wanted to pass along a quick list of the games I tried for the first time this weekend, and my thoughts on each. I know, I know... these are board games or card games, not video games. Sue me. (Some of you will probably be like: "How have you never played that?!)

Here's the list:
  • Puerto Rico - This is a resource game. Lots of little pieces. It also employs, ahem, "brown colonists" to staff your plantations. The game is apparently translated from German and strives for some semblance of historical accuracy. It was a blast to play, even if not exactly PC. (Really, who cares? There are certainly worse games out there.)
  • Cards Against Humanity - (... like this one. Nothing PC here.) In case you couldn't tell by the title, this is a card game. It's great party game, and I was doubly interested in trying it out once I learned it was indie-published using Kickstarter to raise the seed money. An awesome idea, rendered beautifully into an extremely playable card game. Grab a beer and some close friends (and probably play this one in a dungeon, because boy did we get some weird looks out in public.)
  • Settlers of Catan - Can you believe I've never played this game? Yeah, I couldn't, either. It's always been described to me as sort of the gateway drug to more complex board gaming. For you Catan virgins (like I used to be), this is another resource/building game. Pretty basic. You get resources based on rolls, use them to build things to get more resources, and shoot for victory points in order to end the game.
  • True Dungeon (the Lich one) - This isn't a card or board game. Rather, this is D&D brought to life. A life-sized dungeon. (Don't worry, there's no larping here, just regular D&D style gameplay with props and actors.) I really wish there was a year-round True Dungeon. This is a great idea... I just wish I could go regularly with a gaming group, and maybe be less rushed. Maybe I should start a Kickstarter for seed money to buy an old house in the Indy area and turn it into a permanent True Dungeon...
  • Dominion - Okay, so I've played this card game before. A lot. We typically play it twice a week during lunch. Still, it bears mentioning because our local card-owner picked up the next expansion. I forget what it was called. We played today with the pretty new base set, though. I love this game. A great deck-building style game... without all of the deck building. That is, you don't need to buy mini-packs to make this game work. You simply pick ten stacks of cards from the sets you own, and off you go! Great, great game.
That was about it. I know, and inauspicious number when listed out like that. We spent a whole bunch of time doing things like eating, walking the vendor hall, eating, attending Brandon Sanderson events, eating, checking out costumes, and eating. Also, we spent some time eating. (Also, drinking was involved.) I'm sure I tried a whole bunch of other games that I don't remember. We looked in on a lot of games, too. Watching other people play is more fun than you'd think.

Anyway, gotta run. Back to the real world and all that. Any other GenConners find a new game they'd like to mention?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

GenCon 2012!

I don't get to go to many cons. When my money tree finally bears fruit and I no longer have to uphold this farce I refer to as the Day Job, I would like to attend more cons. I think I've mentioned before my shame at not ever being able to attend Blizzcon. It would be really awesome to attend one of the WoW-blogger meetups and put faces to names that I've long admired and read. Sadly, Blizzcon falls right in the middle of football season, and as a coach, I simply cannot get away.

Fortunately, there is one con close to home for me: GenCon Indy. And it is this weekend! Fuu and I live just north of Indy, and many of our RL friends congregate in Indy to celebrate and attend the con. For those who might not know, GenCon Indy is a gamer's convention. Tabletop gamers. Think many-sided die and evil DM's lurking behind that large cardstock divider (the one that has all the DM rules written on the side you cannot see, and hides all of the evil minion rolls).

It's a pretty awesome weekend. It has all the staples you might expect at a nerdy con. People dress up. There are vendor booths and special guests. Events spring up all over, and local eateries are swarmed by basement-dwelling masses, getting their only taste of sunlight for the year. (Okay, that last is a bit of a stereotype joke. Still, if my house had a basement, I would call it the dungeon and dwell appropriately. Also, the crowd is unique, especially if you're a local. It is, quite literally, a downtown Revenge of the Nerds. It's awesome how much the con has grown over the last several years alone.)

I mention this, obviously, because I figured some of you guys might be planning on attending. If you are, rest assured in the knowledge that I, too, will be there. I like to wear things with "Fulguralis" on them (I have a nice red Warcraft hat with my toon name on the back), so if you see me, don't hesitate to say hello. Also, feel free to DM me through Twitter (@Fulguralis or @MattHofferth - the second is my author/personal Twitter that I try to use more, but I lurk on both, and DMs will alert me) if you'd really like to find me. I'll be a bit all over the place, what with friends, events, and coaching. (I still have to go to practice in the afternoon, but I've taken some vacation time from the Day Job to attend stuff outside of practice.)

If you're hoping for random good fortune, we generally end up at the RAM around meal times. That place is nuts, though, so good luck. We also are likely to be playing some Dominion at some point, as well as any other games we can squeeze in. I'll try to tweet what's going on if anyone is interested. Likely it'll be on my @MattHofferth account, but I may try to do both. We'll see how it goes. (I know, I'm terrible at Twitter.)

Anyway, I just wanted to make this announcement. We're really excited about GenCon. It's a blast every year. I'm looking forward to attending all of Brandon Sanderson's events (he's the guest of honor this year!), participating in True Dungeon for the first time (previous years I couldn't get away from work during the day), and simply taking in the sights. It would icing on the cake if I got to meet fellow gamers (readers or bloggers, both are equally exciting).

Oh, another thing that might give us away. Fuu will probably be wearing her new brain-wave cat ears constantly. So, tall blond guy in a red hat with a short girl with moving cat ears. The funny part? We won't stick out. Not one bit.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What If: User Generated Content

A while back, I was playing a D&D Facebook game. Something of the something... I forget what it was called. It was a neat game, free to play, and pretty true to the feel of a tabletop game (as far as that can go). My character hit max level after a couple months of faithful playing, and eventually I moved on to other games. Such is the way of things.

Today, one of the great ideas from the game sidled up a slapped me upside the head. The game featured a text-based story, little snippets popping up as you proceed from one room to the next in gridded dungeons. Each dungeon was basically an instance, and it had the typical Facebook Game convention of limited daily energy.

It wasn't to hard to progress through the main story, and you could increase the difficulty on subsequent runs. The mechanics were pretty simple, the stats well explained, and the itemization easy for any respectably RPG gamer to understand. In short, it was a fun little game. Well produced and presented.

Now, maybe I'm overselling this idea by calling it great. After all, I didn't personally partake much in it. To be honest, I don't really remember why I got out of the habit of playing every day. I just did.

The idea was "user created dungeons." Once you reached a certain level, a dungeon creator was open to you. You could access your own dungeon through a cute little trap door in your house. What's more, you could invite others to visit your dungeon as well.

What struck me today is why haven't we seen such a thing in an MMORPG? It was just a map creator, and map creators have been around forever. Heck, one could make the argument that the map creator was the true shining star in some of Blizzard's old Warcraft and Starcraft games. User created maps have spawned entire games for Fel's sake! (League of Legends anyone?)

Can you imagine if WoW came with a map creator? We complain all the time about lack of content, lack of challenge of content, or lack of novelty of the content. Well, Blizz could say, shut up and make your own!

I'm sure, at least for WoW, there's a huge amount of technical risk involved here. There are probably all kinds of things you could do to break the carefully balanced system or overload their servers. But what about for a game like Diablo or Guild Wars, where most of the dungeons are instanced? If Blizz can make custom maps play on, surely they could make some kind of WoW portal that sent you to Crazy User Generated Dream Realm. Like the Emerald Dream, only not tied to reality.

In fact, they could make the entire thing a dream for you character. Loot, gold, experience gained in the dream could simply not travel with you when you wake up. No need to worry about someone creating a crazy overpowered gear dispensing machine. Or whatever the worry might be.

How much less would we complain between patches and expansions if we could mess around with our own content? There are a lot of really clever, really dedicated gamers out there. Sheer numbers alone says that someone would come up with something awesome that Blizz had never even considered. And if it took off? So what? More subs for you!

Several recent smash hit games have grown out of mods. Day Z and League of Legends are probably two of the more popular examples. Both ideas were born as user-generated content in other games. Sure, they've grown from there in something more or less unique (we could debate about derivative works here, but that's not really the point). More importantly, though, they're popular. People enjoy them. They are entertaining. And that's the whole point of making games: to entertain. It's also really the secret to retaining subscriptions or convincing people to pay in a F2P. We're obviously willing to pay for entertainment... so long as we're kept entertained.

Like I said, just an idea that hit me. I would enjoy tinkering around with dungeons in some of my favorite games. What's more, I would love to see what others come up with. I think a company that figures out how to do this may prove the next evolutionary step for the MMORPG. I've known some good DMs that could really knock a customized WoW dungeon out of the park. I mean, think about it. World of Warcraft PTQ!!

Blizz? Pencil this in for Titan? I've got more ideas. Hire me and they're all yours. Kthxbye.

Monday, August 6, 2012

LoL - Different Goals

I've existed as one happy half of a functional gaming pair for some time now. That is to say, the wife and I are fortunate enough that "together time" can also equal "gaming time." We generally work well together, and have (hopefully) been a boon to every gaming group we've joined. She's the more social of the pair, I'm the planner/organizer. When we were guild officers, I like to think we proved and effective tandem.

But, as any gaming couple can attest, it isn't always double rainbows and Russian unicorns. Sometimes there are threats of couch sleeping. And pillow throwing. And copious swearing.

Such is the case with League of Legends. It has come to my attention that we likely play better when we are in separate lanes. If that, even. It may be best that we play separate games.

What's the problem? Well, after much, ahem, discussion, it seems that we have completely different goals for the game.

I'm competitive. It's probably borderline psychotic. Winning is a serious thing for me. I don't rage quit or throw a fit if I lose, but I do get a bit surly. I try to keep it in, but wives know. What I don't type in is written plainly on my face... and probably in the grumbles, too.

My wife is social. She plays to enjoy the company of fellow gamers. Winning or losing doesn't matter much to her. Winning is nice, but losing is not a big deal. And any insinuations that she should "try harder" or be more serious are basically personal insults.

So we come to blows. I've been digging into builds and gearing strategies. She's texting friends to join her. I'm trying to explain dynamic group battles. She's commenting on how pretty her character looks. We're on completely different pages.

LoL is a competitive game. As Vince Lombardi once said: "If winning wasn't everything, why do they keep score?" The main point of the game is to beat the opposing team.

Larger than LoL, though, is the fact that the game is online. Any online game has a social component. That is simply truth. The component may vary greatly from game to game, community to community, but it exists.

So what is the solution for us? Can we play LoL in harmony? We're coming from completely different sides of the equation. She views LoL as a fun distraction until the next game drops. I see it as a mountain to conquer.

We've not exactly figured it out yet. Maybe we shouldn't play together on this one. Our temporary fix is where I play some competitive games on my own, and then take a new champion for a test run with her, fully expecting to lose. It is imperfect, but I'm not sure there's a better solution, short of simply going our own way. And where's the fun in that?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Technically Small World

Matticus is one of those bloggers that has been around seemingly forever. Quite frankly, I'm sort of at the point in my blogging career when I feel that way about anyone who has been around longer than me. Four years is a long time in the blogosphere.

I was pretty thrilled, then, when I got to play League of Legends with him last weekend. Shhhh, don't tell him. Wouldn't want it to go to his head.

Now, Matticus would probably be the first to say he's no celebrity, even in the niche WoW-blogger world. (Maybe he is, I don't know). I didn't geek out on Mumble or anything (I don't think I said a whole lot period). It's not like that.

I grew up with several folks who are now professional athletes. I would consider them family friends. We played on some teams together growing up, maybe hung out several times, but I wouldn't say that I'm close with them.

From a closer-than-average viewpoint, then, I can say that there's a certain amount of celebrity that goes with being a professional athlete. I'm not the sort of person who gets starstruck, but there is a tangible excitement. Something in the air, if you will.

It's not like that, either.

I can't explain it, but there's this weird phenomenon that I've experienced several times now. I've been fortunate enough to be able to virtually hang out/play with several of the bloggers that I read. And every time, there's this semi-awkward trill of excitement.

Perhaps the best real life example I can think of is when I've done a bit of traveling -- further away than, say, a couple of states -- and I run into someone that I went to high school or college with. Not the sort of person where you're like, "Oh, no. Not him." Rather, the sort of person where you chuckle and say, "Small world." This is especially the case if you're attending the same niche event. You know, so that the next comment is "You do this stuff, too?"

What do you call that?

I hope it's not pretentious of me to say that I get this same sort of vibe when I bump into readers. Part of me is always surprised. Like, "Oh, you read that?" The old page-hit counter has been above 0 for some time now. You think it wouldn't be news to me.

I guess my whole point here is to sort of geek out about technology. How cool is it these days that we can so easily rub elbows with people who share our passions? It's the Technically Small World Phenomenon, if I had to put a name to it.

If you run into me, you should probably be aware that I'm a pretty solid introvert. I've never been a social butterfly. Oft times, I feel guilty for being short with people. I reflect later on all the wonderful, elegant, witty things I could have said. It is what it is.

I had a lot of fun playing with Matt this last weekend. This is probably news to him, as I didn't say much. I also learned a lot. I have fun any time I get to play with like-minded folks, even if I have to be coaxed out of my shell a bit in the first place.

So thanks to Matt for hitting me up. And thanks to the other folks that have popped in, commented, just said hi, whatever. If you think it's cool, rest assured that I think it's pretty cool, too. The world is a crazy place. It's always nice to know that you're not as crazy as you might have thought.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

#SWTOR - Here's a Free Blog Post

Apparently, there's quite a stir going around with TOR's Free to Play announcement. My blog has always been free to read, so I'll be the first to welcome the TOR folks as brethren in the free entertainment movement. Hopefully they'll have more luck turning this into a full time job than I have. (The Day Job I'm forced to keep is really cutting into my writing time right now... ah, consequences...)

Joking aside, there are a whole bunch of opinions over at The Melting Pot, and my buddy Targeter chimed in. I don't have a whole lot to say on the issue. Having spent a lot of my recent gaming hours in League of Legends, I've now experienced a stellar Free to Play setup. Riot does a great job. They seem to make smart moves, and understand what their players want.

Free to play can be good. It can also be cheesy. I hope TOR errs on the "good" side.

I was probably going to cancel my sub once it ran up, but with the entry price being free... I could see myself picking up the ole' lightsaber now and then. I'm glad the story is free. As for the rest of it? Well, I'll just have to see.

I think that about sums it up. Especially for the price of "free." You want more content? Leave comments. That's like blogger currency. (Or you can just pay me money too. I'm sure we can work out the comment currency exchange rate. Last I checked the going rate was... a penny? Suppose that depends on how much thought you put into it.)