Shock, horror!

On two counts. One, this post isn’t *gasp!* about WAR. And two:

A few weeks back I watched with complacent anticipation as ABC announced “Lost, 09.15.08” or something like that.

September 15th came, but Lost didn’t. Now, having finally got my finger out and Googled it, I discover it won’t be back until next year. Even if it is almost next year already, I want to let out a hearty DAMN YOU!

I came late to Lost, thinking my friends’ praise was just hype, since many of those same friends also like Heroes, which makes me a) yearn for Dead Like Me, b) want to yack because of all the wasted potential and c) send the writers to some course where they can learn that characters drive plot, rather than having their characters react utterly out of character just so the fecking drama can move along. Yeah, H came after L, but it’s my timeline and I can do what I like with it. Just take it from me that my friends and I don’t always like the same things.

That said, Lost is a lot better on DVD than it is on TV, because you don’t have those fart-gargling adverts — sorry my US chums, commercials — interrupting as many intense, conspiracy-laden moments as possible. Nothing quite like being about to find out what’s behind the curtain (one of them) and suddenly being presented with “Viva Viagra.” Yeah… Advert-free is nice, but right now on my TV might be better. I can wait till next year. I don’t think I can wait till the end of next year for the DVD. Bah humbug.

In other news, Pushing Daisies is back soon (whimsical yay!) and Life returns also (thousand-yard-+zen-stare yay!). As does CSI, to nobody’s surprise I hope. I want to see how they deal with thingy‘s death (or is it?!) after asploding his head last season. I also really really want to make sure they keep that faint whiff of the grotesque and morgue humour that has always made CSI far, far better than its East Coast spinoffs (yawn! Sunglasses of Justice notwithstanding). Besides, William Petersen is hawt. Not Johnny Depp hawt, but he satisfies my intellectual hawtness needs.

Practice makes perfect(er)

Scenarios in Warhammer Online are a new thing to me. People keep comparing them to WoW’s battlegrounds but I thought those last longer? Anyway.

I have hated every scenario I’ve done in WAR, which is… five to date. Three Tier1 scenarios and a couple of the T4 scenarios back in the beta template days. The reason I’ve hated them is because I sucked at them; it’s amazing how understanding something and being more familiar with it can improve your opinion of said thing.

I had to do Khaine’s Embrace probably 15 times before I ever saw my side (Order OR Destruction) win. Yeah, I felt like a jinx. Fact that I kept trying it on level 2-5 chars didn’t help, either, though I wasn’t aware of that to begin with.

I spent most of those “failed” scenarios tearing my hair out and castigating myself for being a crap player and, therefore, a crap person. The player thing is no doubt true — in WAR as with many other games, knowing the ins and outs of the class you’re playing is pretty important, and I’m a slow learner. The person thing is just my wounded pride. Several times I said “Screw you guys! I’m going home! No more scenarios for me! I will ONLY do the PvE stuff in WAR! So there!”

And then, shockingly enough, I *did* start learning. I also died a little more slowly as my million alts levelled up, which gave me a bit more time to look around, see the sights, figure out tactics, and see how other folks needed to play their classes to be most effective, and how I could help. Khaine’s Embrace became a lot more fun when I learned to RUN!! and then even more fun when I learned to hold our flag. Rule #1 of T1 Scenarios: don’t give up your flag. Now I do scenarios for a bit of light relief from hot’n’heavy PQs. No, really.

Oh yes, chase and cutting to. I went from hating to loving Khaine’s Embrace (or Khaine’s Kablooie), and Nordenwatch was never particularly hateful apart from all that slogging through damp sand. Gates of Ekrund, however, the dwarven T1 scenario, I swore I would never like, nor even remotely tolerate.

That’s because the first 6 times I did it, I died horribly, along with everyone else on the Order side. I’d have been among those bleating that Destro owns all, those bastards with their OP DoKs and Chosen and waaaah! (or WAAAGH!) — except that I’ve played Destro lowbies and I’ve seen all that whining in reverse. Just use Bright Wizard and Warrior Priest instead.

Yesterday, Mortigui and Amariel ventured into Gates of Ekrund for the first time since we started playing “for real,” because we’re being completist (on which subject, remind me to tell you about Engine Number Nine one of these days). We wanted to do all three T1 scenarios before leveling out of their reach.

And it went well! We ran it three times in the end. Won two, lost one. All went to 500 for the winning side, but the losing side had 200+ so it wasn’t a wipeout. As usual, getting to know a scenario helps — for which, not dying 50′ from the respawn point and being able to take a few hits also helps. Once you know the lay of the land, you can start working out tactics around flags. Once you have that down, you can start thinking about stealing the other side’s flags.

Practice really does help. So if you’re dying and dying and having a horrible time in scenarios, here’s some free advice, so it’s worth what you paid for it.

1) If it’s really that horrid, wait a few levels. Don’t rush into scenarios at Rank2 — nothing says you have to go in before rank5, or 8, or 10 or whatever is comfortable for you. 12, however, is too high.

2) Don’t think you’ll perform perfectly the first time you do a given scenario. The guys who designed these did a pretty clever job. Terrain irritations are intentional. You really DO get better the more times you do these. If you’re perfect already, bugger off. We don’t like your inhuman kind here.

3) Ya win some, ya lose some. If I, hater of all things PvP and hater-even-more of all things corpse related, am learning to take death with a laugh, so can you.

Good luck!