Blog Archives

Down in the Hole (Hang Fire)

I have a feeling WoW life is about to get rather expensive.

Yesterday I sprang for Cold Weather Flying, which will let me flap about Northrend, and that was a snip at a mere 450 gold. Later on I get to spend amounts I’d rather not think about, which may not be relevant for a while if my levelling pace tapers off anyway. People are throwing around numbers like 4500 gold — forty-five HUNDRED gold?! Wataf? Eloise has made the princely sum of not-quite 2000g in her entire career, and currently has about 20% of that in her pocket. Aieeee! And that’s not even counting the price of the mounts. Or the rep grind before some smug NPC bastard even lets you buy one of his precious beasties.

Will dance for moneh.

Okay, maybe not.

Am a little quested-out, a little Outlanded-0ut, and generally a little burned-out (already!) on frenetically doing whatever silly thing any passing NPC feels like asking me to do. Some days you save the world, some days you poke through Clefthoof poop – I guess it evens out. But it’s all questing, and there are 18 million and three quests in the Outlands, and that way lies madness if it’s all I ever do.

So I think Eloise is going to hang up her questing hat for a few days and maybe go fishing or something. Hang out with friends, even if it’s only on Vent and not in v-person. Have a RL drink (or three). My guildies, it turns out, are a bunch of lushes — oh yes you are and you know who you are, even if you’re not reading this — and they are leading me down that terrible path of *gasp* occasionally having a drink (or three) while I play.

It’s not actually something I do very often – drink that is, not play. I don’t drink much these days to begin with, for several reasons. First, I have nothing to prove. Second, alcohol severs the brake between brain and mouth and that is not always a good thing, especially if someone’s taking screenshots and especially if you don’t remember it later. Third, the hangovers really aren’t worth it. It’s like all the hangovers I didn’t get in my college days and my 20s have finally figured out where I live and have decided to gang up on me if I so much as give a bottle of spirits a sideways glance.

On the bright side, I still have never woken up with a brand-new tattoo. So that’s a plus.

Yea, in all things I shall be moderate. It is, after all, the Holiday season as we so PCly put it these days. I think I can have a drink, evade the Hangover Beast, avoid making too great a tit of myself in v-public, not quest like a manic questing thing, and generally have a good time.

Here’s lookin’ at you, fellow players.

Storm in a blogcup: Warhammer

A few years back we had EA Spouse.

Now we have EA Louse on why Warhammer Online failed.

I haven’t had time to read my RSS feed and see how long this has been causing ripplets across the blogosphere and forums. To be honest, I’m not sure I much care.

For one thing we have no idea if this is legit, but the rant is entertaining. More importantly, however, it’s the by now oh-so-familiar threnody of the worker bee in the gaming and MMO industry. They’re treated for crap and most people who read blogs or are even slightly informed (go read Scott Jennings) know this. The vast majority of gamers have no clue and probably wouldn’t care if they did, being like the vast majority of normal people, to whit: selfish and self-absorbed.

Sadly, this probably will not change the culture of exploitation and managerial self-interest that’s rampant in the MMO development industry – a culture that happens to be rampant in most industries and would be called, by some pundits, “good capitalism.”

I’m not going to get into my feelings about capitalism and exploitation here, this is a gaming blog.

Anyway, go read it. It’s entertaining. It may be eye-opening. It’s biased, of course, but aren’t we all?

Not just me

What were we all thinking a year ago, to start blogs like this?

I blame Warhammer Online and I blame Casualties of War, the guild, not necessarily in that order. CoW has a large proportion of bloggers, was started by bloggers, and showed us such a glitzy, ritzy lifestyle that most of us couldn’t wait to start being bloggers ourselves!

Okay, so maybe I’m lying about the glitzy ritzy lifestyle. That or someone’s lying to me and I haven’t received my pass to the Ultra Special People’s Lounge yet. (That sounds oddly Communist. I’m not going if I have to share my coffee!)

Well anyway, another blogbuddy celebrated his first year yesterday and since he does want the glitzy ritzy fame and fortune, he gets a link too. Happy Blogday, Harbinger Zero!

I bet there are more of us out there, too. (If you’re one of them, let me know!) This time last year the Warhammer Online beta was ramping up, people were jumping up and down and foaming at the mouth with hype, hope and antici………………… pation, and what would be one of the best meta-game communities ever was already shaping up nicely despite the fact that most of us weren’t even playing (ahem, testing) the game yet.

Warhammer Online may not have been my cup of MMO Joe (I just don’t have that much PvP in me), and it may have some fairly serious flaws, but it’s a great attempt at a great game made by some seriously creative and dedicated people who clearly give a rat’s ass (one of 10) about their community, and who encourage said community to grow and thrive. I wish more games companies were as proactive about that kind of thing.

I want MMOs in general to do well, because the more of them we have, the easier it will be to challenge the 800-lb gorilla design and revenue model, but Warhammer has a special place in my heart for all the things it did right and despite all the things it could have done better.

Happy birthday bloggers, and happy almost-soon-release-delay-headstart Warhammer Online.


Warhammer Online — Dem bones

Glerk! I’ve been attacked by the Mythic viral marketing viral virus thing!

I could tell you that a strangely dusty and creepy camphor-smelling creature delivered them, but actually it was only the UPS guy, and maybe he likes mothballs; who am I to judge? In any case, I shall report faithfully what I found in the shipping carton ancent gem-inlaid sarcophagus. Abject apologies for the poor quality of the photos: my digital camera died a little while back and I had to rely on my phone. Mythic, send me a camera next time too, m’kay? (It never hurts to aim high!)

So what’s the deal here? If you’ve been playing Warhammer Online lately, or keeping up with the news, you’ll know all about it. If you haven’t,  it’s all about Mythic’s Rise of the Tomb Kings event relating to the new Land of the Dead area that’s opening up late this month. Short’n’sweet: you’ll be able to find skullies on various internet gaming sites, each skull bearing a cartouche of hieroglyphs. To translate said glyphs, you need to have worked out the translation from the “rosetta bones” that have been sent out to a bunch of worthy (and less worthy, like myself) bloggers. Getting the translation right may let you claim goodies.

There are links to the bone-recipients and skull sites at the bottom of this post.

First off, dem bones demselves. Click through on all pix for a larger view.


Note the little US flag — for those who don’t know yet, similar but not identical bone-and-hieroglyph puzzles are running in all manner of different countries, so it’s important to note which country a given bone (or set) belongs to.

Yes, I know you can’t see all the letters on there; maybe next time I’ll get a nice tibia and fibula the way Syp did but in the meantime I have a (right?) pelvic bone and one of the vertebrae. Maybe if I close my eyes and wish real hard I’ll suddenly find David Boreanaz telling me we need to go catch bad guys. Mmm…

Ahem. Moving on. The letters on the pelvic bone (E, Y, L) and the vertebra (C, N):




Next up, the map — note the X in the top central part. Something tells me that might be important.


I know, I know, it’s not well-framed. This ain’t Truffaut, it’s Tut-mania. A scarab stopped by and let me know that this is “part of a treasure map. Players can visit the marked locations in the Necropolis of Zandri to get special tome unlocks… and maybe more.”

Now for the diary entries. Pix, then transcript.


Diary of Doom, Day 2

Diary of Doom, day 7

Diary of Doom, day 7

Day 2

Found a tomb entrance in the cliff face as we skirted the river. The stone doors were ajar so we could squeeze in. All except for Falcone, that is. The fellow’s like an ox, ‘n that big axe of his wouldn’t be much use in a tomb. I told him to stay put ‘n keep an eye on our gear while the rest of us went down.

Stairs ‘n passages met us beyond the doors. Walls scrawled with odd pictures, paint peelin’ with age. Lots of traps too I figure. I says this to Tinari, since he thinks he’s some sort of thief. He said there ain’t a trap invented what he couldn’t beat.

Funny he says that, ’cause that’s right when the door shut behind us ‘n a swarm of beetles started pourin’ into the hall. Mazza screamed like a tarn ‘n we all got to runnin’. Piccione caught his foot in a snare, ‘n yelled for help. DiBiano started to go back for him, but stopped when he saw how many beetles there really were.

Any of us could’ve saved Piccione. But then again, who’s to say those bugs wouldn’t have come out on top? When Piccione started screamin’ it made me glad I didn’t take the risk. I looked back at him, but all I could see was his arm wavin’ madly, the rest of him hidden by that black beetle swarm.

No one was of a mind to stay. Tinari made good, though, ‘n found a hidden passage that got us back to the river. That must’ve been trapped, too, ’cause the ceiling fell in just as the last of us was comin’ out.

We walked back to the doors, which were now closed. Falcone was pickin’ through our gear like a robber. He leapt to his feet when he saw us. The doors had slammed shut just a few moments before, he said, ‘n he reckoned us for goners. Then he noticed Piccione was missin’ ‘n shut up.

Day 7

A sandstorm forced us to seek shelter in a cave. Once inside, it became clear that we’d made a mistake. This is no cave, but is instead a Nehekharan tomb. The memory of the last tomb ‘n Piccione’s screams are still with me. The horror, the horror…


Those of us what are left decided to risk the storm rather than face Mazza’s fate. I’m gettin’ ahead of myself. Mazza’s dead now, ‘n I think I’ll miss him more’n the rest.

We’d been in the tomb an hour, maybe two. The storm outside was getting worse. Mazza started singin’ to raise a smile or two, but all he raised was the dead. All of a sudden, a woman’s voice, smooth as silk but thick with menace, rang out around the tomb. Mazza stopped, dumbstruck, walked towards the voice. Me, Falcone ‘n Bonfiglio tried to stop Mazza. He lashed out, knocking us down. Which, truth to tell, is probably what saved us.

When I got up I saw Mazza starin’ into the eyes of a corpse-woman, ancient and linen wrapped. She smiled ‘n gently touched his cheek. He grinned but the pleasure was all to brief. A burst of sand shot from the lady’s palm ‘n tore its way through Mazza’s head.

The sand on the floor began to writhe, ‘n everywhere we stepped there was hungry scarabs. Even Venezia was awakened by the commotion. We grammed what we could ‘n left Mazza behind.

* * *

Bone-bearing blogs:

A High Latency Life
Bio Break

Epic Slant
Keen & Graev’s
Rainbow MMO
Tome of Knowledge

Sites with Skullies:

Kotaku —  MMORPG —  Massively

I haven’t been tracking the rest-of-the-world event bones, but Greg at TOK posted this link over at MMOZONE for the EU puzzle which should at least provide a starting-point . Good luck!

Get to da Slaya’ (WAR Public Test Server)

As announced here, yesterday.


The PTS is back in business for your testing pleasure at 5:00PM EST! With this weeks turn of events on the Public Test Server we’ve had to shift things around a bit! What does this mean for you?

Good question! When you log onto PTS you will be greeted by the grinning faces of Greenskins and the grim resolve of Dwarfs – The Slayer & Choppa will be available for the first time to all players. These long awaited careers stand at the ready for your inspection and we can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

When logging into PTS tonight you will notice all characters have been wiped, you won’t be able to copy your character during this phase. This is because we want as many players as possible focusing on the new careers and helping us whip them into shape before their big debut!

In case you were wondering this means that the Zone Domination test planned for tonight will be postponed until next week. We’ll post more updates on it as it approaches, so stay tuned – It won’t be something you’ll want to miss!

We’ll have plenty of Tier 4 testing in the PTS phases to come for now enjoy the new careers and be sure to post your feedback on the Official PTS Forums! With your help we’ll continue to make 1.2 even more awesome.


To try ’em out or not to try ’em out, that is the question. I like test servers, and I like helping to find the “zomg his head is on backwards, how did this get through?!” issues, preferably before they reach live… but on the other hand I don’t want to spoil the anticipation of the careers’ live release either. My enthusiasm for WAR remains undiminshed, though my enthusiasm for playing WAR has waned rather sharply — there just isn’t enough fluff in the game for a, err, fluffer like me; so I’m afraid that previewing the careers before they’re live will only take the shine off them too quickly.

Anyway, for those of you not burdened with such philosophical considerations, there they are!

In case you missed it everywhere else…

fenceMythic’s official WAR forum is in the house. Yes, that links to the Herald page, but there’s a shiny new FORUM button in the top right. Go there. Click it. (Take a couple of minutes to go through the login process.) See the almost-empty forums before the ravening, illiterate, brain-dead flatworm hordes get to it. (Clearly I’m not an official forum ho — if I were, I’d have spelled that as “hoards.”)

Let the brain-cell pillaging begin.

Yes, I do think official forums are a good idea, on the whole. I also think it’s damn near impossible to keep up with what-all game devs might be saying and where even with official forums, especially after months without them, unless those poor devs are utterly restricted from posting anywhere outside the official forums. Which is a little too jack-bootish for my tastes. As usual there is a fence, and I’m sitting on it. I’m thinking of planting some flowers.

Edit: As an expat-Euro (now living in the US) I have to second Spinks’ hearty BAH HUMBUG to the fact that EU gamers can’t even SEE the new “official” forums. Not a word I use often, but in this case it’s more than apposite: LAME. Llama Lame. Liberally larded with Lame.

Not tonight, Josephine, I have a headache

For various reasons owing very little to WAR itself and rather more to that pesky Real Life monster, I’ve not yet checked out the Night of Murder event, nor am I particularly interested in doing so right this second. (As an aside, thank God these events are now designed with real people and real schedules in mind — they last a week or more rather than those 3-12 hours, “we know you’ll be online” old-school events.) Write-ups are starting to come in from others bloggers, including this one from GirlIRL, whose blog is well worth checking out and not just because she’s also female and might share some of my undergarment-arson tendencies.

And then I came across my own signature on the CoW forum — I don’t usually look at sigs, don’t usually have more than a 1-line one myself, and that’s the largest one I’ve had in years (said the actress to the Bishop) — and suddenly the main reason WAR isn’t holding me that well became apparent.

That K rating is a bit of a killer — or not, as the case may be. In a game that, ultimately (and in its best execution*) comes down to PvP action, my timid little o% killer isn’t going to get me far.

I tried RvR. I actually enjoyed RvR in WAR, for the most part (and that’s a hell of an achievement by Mythic, incidentally). But it hasn’t changed the basic type of player I am and I doubt it will, because oddly enough that profile is probably pretty close to the type of person I am too. I like to explore stuff (metaphorically and otherwise), I like to talk with people, I occasionally get something done, and I’m really, really not interested in conflict. I avoid conflict like the plague. Ya might say I have issues with it. So, in games, RvR/PvP is never going to be something I do more than occasionally. Which may mean that WAR isn’t going to be something I play all the time, but rather dip into when I feel like it.

Sort of like Bildo’s dual-wielding MMOs, but different.

I also have a sneaking suspicion that what various bloggers have said in the last year or so may be right: WAR might be more entertaining, on the war-front, if there were more than 2 sides. With two sides you have a couple, feuding or — as often seems to happen — snoring and avoiding each other. Add another side and suddenly you have a love triangle, and things become a whole lot more complicated, and usually therefore more interesting. Given that Mythic is not shy about tweaking, adding, taking out, and otherwise morphing the WAR baby to make it better (as with the introduction of the new mega-dungeon–zone-thing Land of the Dead), I have very little fear that if the 2-sided conflict isn’t quite working out, they’ll improve on it. Surely the IP allows that much wiggle room? (Yeah, I’m a little steamed about the character gender issues, but today isn’t the bra-burning post day.)

*see what I did there?

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