Monday, April 30, 2012

Mo' Money, Mo' People, Mo' Problems

This is from Melmoth at KIASA:

MMOs are more than just the games we play, they are the communities which form around the games, and this is what should make them different and special. Somewhere along the way we seem to have lost this depth of community. Perhaps the player-base has been spread too thinly with the wealth of MMO choice in recent years; perhaps developers have failed to instill, or even enable, an appropriate sense of community within their player-base; perhaps players have been spoilt by the bigger MMOs, and a sense of selfish entitlement precludes a solid community forming.

Melmoth makes a good point. My counter point, however is maybe people, in general, are just ass-hats so the larger the pool of people participating means the greater likelihood the 'unsavory' will come to play. It's the 'ole "there goes the neighborhood" kinda thing. Gaming and MMO's were once a niche thing with smaller, tighter-knit communities and now most of them are not. This is sad but on the up side the sheer amount of cash available for gaming now means we get some pretty great games without having to start the cassette tape thrity minutes in advance.

Win some, lose some I guess.

I had a lot of fun playing Pitfall on the Atari but I have to say I get a great deal more satisfaction out of killing people in World of Tanks even though I complain about the jerks all the time! That doesn't mean I don't grind multiple teeth to nerve-ravaged stubbs at times, and this is right on the money (from the same post):

Wanting to have your issues resolved is entirely understandable, but the foot-stamping, nappy-flinging, red-faced wailing that occurs amongst a certain set of players every time they don’t get an absolutely immaculate MMO experience, or find themselves hindered by an issue for any longer than a nanosecond, casts the MMO community as a whole in a terribly bad light.
Indeed. And since I've not managed to turn Melmoth's post into my own with only a few clever twists I shall stop plagiarizing him immediately!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Saturday Tune on Sunday

I always seem to be a bit behind. Amy Winehouse died some time ago but I am only now going back and listening to her work- something I didn't do while she was alive. Not in any serious way in any case. Perhaps reminded of Amy by the recent suicide of Tommy Marth from The Killers (a band which I have been listening to for years) I've been thinking about my musical days in Ireland. That may not make much sense, but in a nutshell I first listened to the Killers while driving through Ireland with a mate on the way to work. I attended a music festival (The Electric Picnic) with She Who Will Be Named Later and that mate and saw Toots and the Maytals where I was blown away by the energy of the set, and in particular the song Monkey Man.

While looking for that set on You Tube I discovered that Amy did a lot of ska covers and one of them...yes, you guessed it...Monkey Man. That was, apparently, the last song she played on that ill-fated tour where she was booed off stage. Watching that video I can see why they were angry, but ultimately I feel very sad for her. Sad for anyone who feels that things are so bad that they have no choice but to end things one way or another.

For today's posts, then, first, Amy singing a great version of Monkey Man (though she is clearly drunk on this set not to the extreme of those last shows).

And one from The Killers which prominently features the sounds of Tommy.

And finally, one more from Amy with the legendary Specials.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fortuitious Friday: Any Day Now

Any. Day. Now.

Those were the words, nay the proclamation, of the mid-wife on Thursday during her home visit and inspection of She Who Will Be Named Later. I guess it was more of a check-up than an inspection given the fact that my wife isn't a car (though I do like to ride....oops never mind), nor is she a prison cell. Perhaps for New Mouth To Feed (who is due 'any day now') she is a prison cell, and hence her upcoming breakout from that Estrogenical Ovarian Bastille (Family Guy ripoff there).

Once the midwife had departed, and we had waved our friendly good-byes, and after I had finished vomiting with fear, I began to wrap my head around the idea that I would soon be one of those panicky first-time Father types. To be fair, upon the day, I likely won't be all that panicky. I have an oft-practiced ability to remain calm in the face of critical situations. Before and after? A bit of a mess, but on the day of....usually pretty good. The panic will likley come later and persist forever afterwards.

I was looking around the Internet, or as I like to think of it, the all-knowing Seer of wonderment, for some Father blogs to read and didn't find many I was interested in. I have, in fact, read absolutely nothing about being a father, nor about childbirth or child-rearing. I have been watching One Born Every Minute to get some sort of a clue, but most of the things I read, in general, I tend to disagree with anyway, so I figured it would probably be the same in this case. I'm a reasonably intelligent person, I often think to myself, so how hard can this all be to figure out? Famous last words, perhaps, or absolute brilliance! We shall see.

I have decided to approach child-rearing much the same way I have approached taking care of my dogs and before you decide to call Social Services I will clarify that I mean that theoretically not literally. Though I do plan on taking her for walks while strapped to me (baby backpacks for the win) and I will be providing all her food and water I shall not (often) make her eat from bowls placed on the floor. That would be ridiculous as the dogs are sure to cop on and start bullying her for her mashed bananas and then we'd have some problems. Namely my dogs would have runny poop and that's a pain to pick up. No, really, it is.

I shant be turning this blog into some type of parentally-focused gush-fest about how great my baby is. I know, deep down, that my baby will pwn all other babies but I don't need to rub that in everyones face now do I? More importantly this is a gaming blog and though I have challenged everyone I see who is pregnant to a baby-racing tournament (for cash) most of them seem to be care-bear noobs who decline with a nervous laugh. See- already my baby pwns. I'm fairly sure I won't have the urge to blog about my 'adventures in father-land' (that's fatherhood, I guess I should clarify, and not Nazi-Germany) because, quite frankly, I know what type of game this is going to turn out to be and I don't like them. Yes, I mean the dreaded Themepark MMO.

The way I look at it I'm now going to have to do a bunch of repetitive shit (raising a child) in the same old boring setting (my neighborhood) with a bunch of idiots I'd rather not hang out with (other parents). This is, I submit to you, is much the same as questing in the virtual world with other players without the satisfaction of being able to gank and/or grief them when they annoy me. Maybe I'll pursue a Sandbox type of child-rearing where I make my own rules and see how that goes. I could set up a consortium of Goon-Babies and we could leave our strollers out, unatended and when sometime tries to take them? Wham. Fucking ganked, that's what! Now who's everyone's daddy? That's right, baby, this block is null-sec so gear up or f**k off. Hey, what, it's all part of the game, no?

I've already banned pink from my kingdom as a first step. It's amazing how upset people get when they can't buy you what they want for your kid.  It's all a moot point anyway because no matter what you do, once they hit school the world ruins them for you. I fully expect pink dora-dora barbie dolls to feature higly on her want-list because the offspring of Mindless-Drone #656655 has provided all of that since birth for their precious baby girl. They also (likely) named her Sinndeee or some such to how quirky and unique they all are.

Ahh well, there's only so much you can do. I suppose they will, in the end, turn out to be whoever they're going to be. God knows I did some stupid shit when I was young and I'm currently hunting down all the photos of me with long hair and leather jackets in an effort to remove them from any potential hypocrisy counter-arguments to my (probable) sound, parental decrees. I remember once finding a picture of my Dad (from the 70's) when I was 15 that forever altered the 'you need to cut your hair' argument we had been having for over a year. Really, Dad, I need to cut my hair? Look at this! Match point Gank. That's right. I ooooownnneeeed my Dad on that one especially since that photo was tucked away with a box of knives with funny black marks one them from some type of burning ritual that (apparently) people in the 70's did with a magical green plant that could also make rope.

Christ, was there a point to this post? Wait, let me scroll up and see.


Oh right. Baby coming. Soon. Excuse me, I have to throw up now and then find some Scotch to sooth my jangled nerves. Good thing it's the weekend.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dogging in Dublin

Far be it from me to pass judgement on whoever came to my blog with the Google search "Dogging in Dublin" but I'm willing to bet you a pint they were quite dissapointed...unless they were into actual Irish dogs that is. You never know what those feckin' Dubs will get up to, sure. Ahh, Dublin, where you can see the flash of a fanny for a shiny half-penny!

Do you find

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gaming Mojo

Games, games, games. Don't we ever get sick of games? Playing games, writing about games, reading about games, watching You Tube videos of games we play (or maybe that's just me). It all seems like a lot sometimes especially for MMO/Online gamers who often stick with their games for long periods, even years at a time. Getting sick of a game, or burning out, is natural I think. Defining that moment when you've had enough and when you just need a break can be tricky. A persons definition of 'break' varies as well. I've taken in-game breaks by just grinding mobs, or exploring when I just couldn't be arsed questing or PVP-ing.

Looking for that gaming mojo.

It's often about setting goals as well or having something to strive for. My current, long-term goal in World Of Tanks, for instance, is to have my kill-total surpass my games total. It's not much, but its something. Perhaps we'd be better off just walking away from our chosen game(s) when we reach that point. When the thrill of the initial challenge, or excitement, in whatever form that was (questing, story-line, etc) is gone maybe we'd be better off finding so meting new. Does getting a bit bored with a game mean you should move on? Why stay if it isn't as exciting as it was in the beginning?

It's an interesting question and we all have our own reasons, I'm sure. I think we generally accept, as human beings, that things can lose that frosty glow of newness and still be good. There are other avenues to explore, new(ish) thing to try, and let's face it: we take comfort in the known because it's reliable and...well, comforting.This isn't a gaming-only phenomena, now is it? Television series run for years (especially in North America) and we still plop down in front of them. If we were honest we'd admit that we have, essentially, been watching the same t.v. programs for years. Every 'family sit com', every 'cop drama', every 'quirky new show' has been done before yet still we watch.

I was watching my dog sleep last night. He looked very content, and quite comfortable in his new bed. I often worry that my dogs get bored (especially in the winter). The Sultan of Smart used to have a very busy life. He'd accompany me to work every day when I lived in Ireland. He was on the go from 6am to 9pm some days and he never batted an eye. Well, maybe he did, but he didn't complain about the long days. In any case, my point is that he was content. He was comfortable and happy in a new bed, with a full belly, and with masters who spoil the crap out of him. Maybe he does get bored sometimes, but in the end everything is perfect for him and so, he is content. I guess if my biggest worry is that I might be getting bored with a game I've been able to play for hours and hours.....well, I guess things are all right, aren't they?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Tale Of Two KV's

The World of Tanks 7.3 patch is going to forever alter one of the most played, beloved, and winning tanks in the game: The Tier V Heavy Russian KV. A fearsome tank in skilled hands it's derp gun was both mocked (by the foolish) and feared (by those in the know). It was a go-to moneymaker that I only discovered recently. The new patch will be essentially moving that tank to tier VI and most people will breath a sigh of relief. It's new replacement is still pretty fearsome, with better armor, weaker guns, but a new MM that will see it (hopefully) play within its class so if you were thinking your days of being terrorized by the KV were over.... think again!

I've played the KV-1 on the test server only a few times and it does promise to be fun but I will miss the old 'OP' KV and wish I had played it earlier.

The LOL machine.

Monday, April 23, 2012

World of Tanks 7.3 Test Review

Well not so much a review as a quick update on what I've been doing, namely playing the World of Tanks test for update 7.3. There isn't a lot to say, really, despite the introduction of new tanks and the re-vamp of the Russian Heavy Tanks Tree. There isn't much point reviewing them individually as they are all likely going to change with the next round of testing and the forums are filled with analysis and comments if you're interested.

I was surprised that the IS-4, which is being moved to Tier X, was made a faster, agile heavy rather than an armored fortress. I was under the impression it was going to become the 'Russian Maus' but instead it's speed comes in around 40 kph and the armor has been left as is. Yes, I did say 'as is'. It's hard to say how the tank really is because I suspect there are a lot of people using gold ammo. The new IS-4 gun not only does 400 damage (normally) but with gold rounds it has 400 penetration so the fact I am getting blown apart like an steel-pinata may not mean as much as I think.

I only played a few battles in my new Russian tanks (the IS-8, for the record is lightly armored but moves like a medium with a top speed of 50 kph and is also easily penetrated) and moved on to others I have been wondering about for some time- mostly mediums as they are my favorite. I also tried the new French premium SPG as well and would suggest you save your money as it's only so-so and there are better free arties that make the same amount of cash. Playing the test server is always interesting and somewhat misleading as to how things will be 'live'. Different play-styles, unfamiliar tanks, and risk-free tanking ensures things are fast and furious. I'm always amused when I see people capping to win. What the heck for? We're there to test tanks, maps, and changes, damn it- go fight!

All in all I've discovered several 'new' tanks I'd like to play (M26 Pershing US Medium, T-44 Russian Medium, GW Panther German Arty, and even the M6 US Heavy as an unlikely candidate). I suppose there isn't much point beating the old 'there isn't any real new content here' horse is there? New tanks, two new maps (one of which is buggy as hell and crashes my client every time) and........ well, that's it. I understand the novelty of new tanks and, as I said, there are several I'd like to play myself. The ongoing and potentially game-crippling problem (of which I keep bitching about) is that there isn't really anything 'new' to do. It's still a 15 v 15 battle royale. I feel I will have to move on from random, public matches soon. When 'grinding a new line' seems like something new and exciting it's time to look at some alternative game-play. I am interested in tournaments, and I was a huge proponent of Company Battles (which they instituted a while ago) and have done neither as of yet so maybe it's on me to find my own challenges in game. Hmmm, yes, the World of Tanks Sandbox edition. Sounds good to me!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Let's Make Fun of Others

I would say 'I couldn't make this up' but I could. Anyone could, and has, in fact, in numerous movies throughout the ages. In my old stomping grounds, a city of 240k in the middle of...well, nowhere really, this headline has emerged:

Ban exorcisms, science advocacy group urges

Yes, really. Long story short a priest was called in to perform an exorcism on a man who's aunt thought he might be possessed. The priest only blessed him- no outright 'exorcism' was performed but two nuggets from the article that I liked:

...the bishop for the Catholic diocese of Saskatoon confirmed that a local priest had dealt with a case of possible demonic possession. Bishop Don Bolen also said it's possible the man was experiencing a mental breakdown.

You think? Really. Demons or mental health issues. Hmmm.. let me see.

And this- just in case you weren't clear on who the goodies and baddies were in this whole religious thing:

While there was no formal exorcism ritual performed, the priest blessed the man, saying he belonged to the good side, to Jesus. That seemed to help.

Well holy shit (pun intended) I'm glad you cleared that up. Jesus was on the side of good was he? I had that all mixed up over the years. I guess that explains why I cry at Easter at the thought he rose from his grave like a flesh-eating zombie to come and enslave us all. I guess that would explain all the free bread and the turn-the-other cheek stuff, him being good and all.

On a serious note it is an interesting dilemma the Church faces. Obviously no one but the very devote (crazy) believe that demonic possession is possible, but if the Church were to agree they'd have to admit, essentially, that everything they believe and say is utter nonsense. The Church can't go around saying evil doesn't exist now can it?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Close, But No Sale.

As a chronic over-thinker I spent a great deal of the weekend pondering whether or not to give in to temptation and buy the discounted 6-month premium deal that World Of Tanks was offering on their 1st anniversary weekend. I swung too and fro many times and, bless her for pretending to care, even discussed it with She Who Will Be Named Later. I noted the glazed look in her eye but wittered on anyway.

In the end I stood (or sat) strong and spent absolutely nothing despite having the 'get gold' window up for hours in the background. Not a dime. Take that! It's that much of a victory considering what I've already spent, but I'll take a win when I can get it. Oh, and here's the best part. I can afford to, I just didn't want to. Huzzah!

As far as I'm concerned there isn't any reason to pay for this game at the moment . Yes, I still like it, but as far as 'grinding' up various tech trees and such (in which Premium really helps due to the increased experience and credits to buy tanks with) I can't be arsed. As I've said elsewhere the game doesn't change just because you are driving a higher tiered tank. It's still a cap-or-kill 15 v 15 scenario on maps I know pretty well. It's still fun, yes, but as a solo, random battle participant I see no point in paying just now. I have plenty of tanks I like and, much to my surprise, I find it fairly easy to maintain some of my higher tier tanks with a standard account (that is I can break even on credits over the course of a session with said tank up to about tier VIII). 

With 25 tanks in my garage I think it might be time to put up or shut up.... or play them or sell them in this case. My new goal is to play 200 battles with each tank in my garage.....or sell it. I'm only going to do this for tanks tiers VII and under because, for instance, I'm not going to sell my E50, or my Object 704 no matter how few battles I play with them. They cost me too damn much to get rid of!

I'm also, once again, toying with the idea of a clan. If you're an introvert like myself you may feel my pain on this one. I have no problem platooning, and socializing.... when I feel like it. When I'm on, I'm on, as it were and I'm genuinely happy to chat and whatnot. When I want to be left alone however, I want to be left alone. Plain and simple. There are days when the demands of work and life are too much to fit in social niceties to clan-mates on the other end of a teamspeak channel. As we all know there is a 'clan/guild ettitquette' that states if you are in the clan, to be considered 'active' you have to be on teamspeak at all times, or else.

I get it, I really do. I've seen people who join clans and then never log into teamspeak, or always hide in a solo-channel and I think 'why bother joining then?' The problem is that sometimes I just don't want to hang out and I don't think I should have to explain why, to anyone. The internet is a wonderful thing but sometimes I think we've lost sight of how people actually interact in social settings. There are times when we need space and that extends into virtual space as well.

The other problem is that I'm easily trolled and have a hard time keeping my mouth shut in random battles which can often reflect badly on whichever clan tag I'm wearing at that time. I'm not a raging ass-hat or anything but I react to idiots who are. A recent read-only ban from forum moderators proves my point somewhat. I may be the only one who cares about this (as in how I represent my clan to the wider world) but the pressure to keep my mouth shut in the face of idiocy is another con of a clan the way I look at it. Sigh. Maybe I'm destined to solo forever or at least until everyone, everywhere shuts the hell up and does what I say!

I know you're out there- how do my fellow introverts handle the social 'pressures' of clan life and teamspeak?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Saturday Tune On Sunday

Look at me, working away on the weekend to provide you with posts! What's that? Yes, I agree, I do spoil you.

My music tastes, as I have previously stated, vary depending on mood, time of day, and whatever other cosmic forces you'd like to conjure. I have spent days at Music Festivals, nights in top London Clubs, and hours in small, smokey blues bars in Mississippi. Trying to pin down my 'favorite' music is a massive waste of time. I just enjoy whatever I feel like at the time and so, here we have an old reggae number which I've always liked and there is no better way to enjoy it that off vinyl.

And really what could top this line:
"You can't marry that girl, I have to say no, that girl is your sister but you're momma don't know."

Oh right. This one!
"Mamma she laughed, she said go man, go, you're daddy ain't your daddy, but your daddy don't know."

Shame and Scandal in the Family.  Indeed. Peter Tosh fronts.

Oh, and while I'm at it, one more from the same era.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday's Tune: Temptation Revisited

On Thursday I ended my post with a Temptation video, but I had to choose between two classic songs which were both fitting. I remember this one mostly from the Reality Bites soundtrack.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Temptation. A Multimedia Experience.

  1. to attempt to persuade or entice to do something, especially something morally wrong or unwise
  2. to allure, invite, or attract
  3. to give rise to a desire in (someone) to do something

  1. a product, service, or program offered at a reduced price.

  1. the ability to control one's emotions, behavior, and desires in order to obtain some reward, or avoid some punishment later.

That works out to $7.65 per month, based on the 6-month offer. Hmmmm....whatever could be the result of all this?

Yea, likely the feeling that I've been kicked in the nuts in a month or two when I (once again) get sick of the game and say (once again) that I will never go premium..... again. Sigh. Are they somehow injecting crack into my eyeballs as I play because this game is bloody addicting.

And because it fits, a classic tune I'm ashamed to say I never listened to (outside of the Trainspotting soundtrack) before now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Counting of Chickens Shall Not Commence Until The Eggs Have Hatched

You'll see what I did there with the title in a moment. I'm so clever I can sometimes barely contain myself. With genius this great I do believe if I was to be a villain, I'd be a Super Villain. If I was a hero, I'd likely be a...well, you get the idea. Mmmmmm Hero Sandwich. But I digress.

Remember Friday's post, when I said 'Spring is Sprung' like some kind of fool who hasn't lived in one of the coldest parts of the habitable earth for over 30 years? You can scroll down if you haven't committed all my posts to's okay. I'll wait.



All caught up. Great. Now on the very next day, on Easter Saturday (ah, you see, the eggs reference now though I have no idea what eggs actually have to do with Easter. I think they represent bunny poop myself, but then where the hell do bunnies get off hijacking Jesus' birthday.....oh right, digressing again), a mere one day after that post can you guess what? I think you can.

Pwned by Winter. Again.

I can actually hear winter screaming: Booya! Take that you summer loving noob!

Ah well at least this way I can get one more post in about the bad weather before summer is truly (hopefully) here. Oh, and speaking of eggs hatching, did I mention I'm taking a year off from The Soap Factory to assist in the rearing of New Mouth To Feed? God bless Canada and it's  Parental Leave Policy. It's going to be a goooood summer. I'll have to thank her for having the good sense to be born in a perfectly decent season.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fortuitious Friday: Happy Birthday Jeebus!

Easter is here and though the cold temperatures this weekend may be trying to fool us, Spring has sprung. I am aware that Easter is not, in fact, the birthday of Jesus (or Jeebus) and nor, quite frankly, do I care. It is four days away from the Slave Ship and that's all that matters to a non-religious fool like myself.....or non-religious wise-man depending on your point of view. Look at me, I get all the same holidays without having to do any of the 'believing in this crap' work! Who's the fool now? Oh sure, you may have the last laugh while I'm burning in hell but I'll take my chances on that one.

Not alot to say today. I'm raging in frustration at the noobs in WoT who are intent on fucking up my fun, but on the plus side I've now discovered Minecraft. Ya, finally. I thought I'd give it a go and so far I'm quite pleased. In fact, why the hell am I writing this when I could be-

Happy Friday Everyone!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guess Who's Back, Back Again?

If you immediately said "Slim Shady" you get a prize! No, not really (sorry), but yes, I did have Eminem's Without Me in mind when I wrote that title. It's neither Slim Shady, nor Marshal Mathers I'm talking about though, it's Wurm Online.

Since letting my WoT premium expire lo those many days ago (2) I don't feel a 'need' to log in. I'm not concerned with grinding anything so the pressure to do so while I'm a paying customer (to get my money's worth or so I thought) is gone. As a true introvert I sometimes (always) get a craving for solitude (even in virtual worlds) and the desire to play Wurm Online hit me. I had logged in, now and then, but this was the first time I logged in and stayed for a few hours. The 'ole homestead is just fine. A little overgrown, perhaps, but still intact and safe. And guess who's still alive? That's right! Venerable Horse. Giddi-up!

Venerable Horse, or as I like to call her: Slim Horsey.
Wurm alows you to 'care' for a pet or animal and extend their lifespan, but holy jeebus I didn't expect her to live this long. One of her descendants was still kicking about as well so I did what I had to do to ensure her genetic survival and bred them. Now that I think of it, that not only makes me a sick monster for promoting incest, it likely will ensure retarded offspring which will doom her line to failure. Hmmm.... too late now I suppose. Ah, sure, it won't be so bad. A two-headed horse with six legs may come in handy.

Wurm has opened some new servers and an 'Epic' server which gives players more of a challenge and some added direction in their virtual lives. I've only briefly read up on it and I'm not overly interested. It sounds great, but I'm still only interested in plodding around and doing this and that in relative peace and quiet. My neighbors seems to have fled to one of these new servers as it's very quiet in my area. A lot of my old stuff has decayed away (carts and food storage bins) leaving me scrounging once again for gear.

Returning to my old habits I managed to 'aquire' a large cart, and some potatoes for planting. I note some nearby mines are not currently being used so, should I choose, I can get some resources for more building. I really wish Wurm Online had more of an economic system (like, say, Ryzom, or Eve, or any other game really, where you can sell your aquired resources) which would provide some motivation to do...well, anything really. I do love a good sandbox, and the freedom is wonderful, but there isn't a lot I want to 'accomplish'. I'm not interested in grinding skills so maybe I'll just do some exploration and some, er, 'recycling' of things others have left behind. Maybe I'm a Tinker at heart! Don't blame me, dammit, I was an archaeologist for many years and all that involved was looking around for cool stuff to nick...for the museums, of course. It's in my blood, is all I can say.

I may sub for a couple months as in my current 'free to play' form I can't pilot any of my boats and travelling by water is both faster, and safer. At $5 per month it isn't a bank-breaker though how much I will actually want to play remains to be seen. Maybe I'll finish my trip around the world which was so rudely interrupted by my dying....many times over.

And because you asked for it (I'm sure) here's the song from the title. Check out Elvis break-dancing at around the 2min mark.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Crusader Kings II: My Island Part II:

The reign of Queen Guntroda the Just lasted only two years. Her claim to fame was creating the Kingdom of Wales, so it wasn't a wasted life. She died shortly after giving birth to twins leaving her infant daughter, Aoife I to take the crown at the delicate age of five. She rules, with a regent, over a troubled kingdom with poxy Kildare trying to break away from the Kingdom first. Backed by my massive mercenary armies the Kingdom is soon at peace. Or at least everyone who isn't happy is soon put in chains or bribed.

Young Aiofe I, unlike her mother, lived a long and prosperous life. She ruled until 1160 and during her reign I bribed, bullied, and pushed my way into more of England. It was a long and relatively quiet rule and her daughter (yes, I just kept spitting those female heirs out) Aoife II, at age 53, took over on her death.

It was at this point in the game that I made a bit of a tactical mistake. In order to keep my demesne size low, and my duchy titles to within the limit  (any more than two and your vassals get angry with you due to jealously issues) I gave my son and heir a Duchy. It's a good idea since eventually I will be playing as him once he took over the crown. The problem was that I could no longer control him directly and so many crucial decisions, like who would educate him, or who he would marry, were now beyond me.

Aoife II ran into some trouble with her aunt (Aoife I's sister who had ambitions of taking over the throne) and kept getting excommunicated. This was dangerous as any God-fearing Christian could then attack me with the Pope's (and the game mechanics) blessing. Due to my unlimited funds (I'm cheating remember) I could by my way out of it, but old auntie kept at it and eventually I had to kill her. Aoife II didn't have the best traits in the world so I also killed my husband to ensure no more offspring. Looking back, since she was 53 and beyond child-bearing age, it was a bit unnecessary, but oh well.

King Gilla-Coluim I took over in 1172 and I have to say he was boring as hell as a ruler. His traits were awful (because he had been educated by characters I did not specially select) and his wife wasn't much better (ah, isn 't that always the way). A great part of the game is biologically engineering your offspring through marriage parings to have the best traits possible, and then educating them yourself so you get to make decisions over their personality type. Boring or not, he did manage to finally usurp the Kingdom of England in 1200 which, essentially, was the fullfillment of my ambition to make all the island.

The United Kingdom of Ireland...Nice.

Poxy France would have been next.

Due to the fact the kingdom laws in England were different (and I didn't yet have the support of my vassals to change said laws), I turned the kingdom over to my daughter and heir (yes, another girl) to rule so that, like I said above, I could keep control of all the kingdoms once Gilla died.....which came none-to-soon in 1218. The side-affect of that was the Kingdom of Ireland reverted, temporarily, to England.

Yikes! Not what any Irishman wants to see on any map.

Finally, he's dead

At this stage I was halfway through the game (which lasts until 1400). I've logged around 40 hours of game time and I feel that I have a good handle on the mechanics. By using the cheat codes to ensure I always have a lot of cash I've seen what the game can deliver and it was here that I decided to resign and start anew- sans cheat codes.

My resignation and final tally. Ahh, sure, it was a good run, so.

The game offers a lot of depth, and were I to try and document everything that went on, I could create a 25-part post, no problem. Forty hours to get through half of a single game is very good value for money as far as I'm concerned, especially when the re-playability of the game is infinite. You can start as a king, emperor, or lowly count....which is where I chose to begin my second game and quickly got face-rolled when my ruler declared war on somone much stronger than us! My third try, as a Nubian King, lasted five minutes. My neighbor simply rolled over me with superior numbers and that was the end of that. My fourth game, as the King of Abysinnia, is going much better.

This game takes me back to the old Civilization days in terms of it's addiction levels (just one more year), thinking requirements, and re-playability and I can hardly think of a better compliment to give.

Monday, April 2, 2012

WoT Now?

You're probably too busy playing the new 7.2 patch to bother reading this, and if so, fair play to you. There are some cool new effects to see, and some 'new' tanks to check out. I say 'new' because although the US heavies are, indeed, new, the 'new' US tank destroyer line is really just more of the same. I get why people are excited to try 'new' tanks but less face it, they are simply an alt and you are leveling up through the same old content again, and again, and again (and I say this as an altoholic with 20+ tanks in his garage).

And again- that's cool. Enjoy. I would love to see something truly new in the game but this has been asked for and ignored by better players than me for over a year now so I'm not holding my breath. I've logged over 6,500 games now and I still enjoy playing so I won't bother beating that dead old horse again. Put up or shut up I guess, so I'm shutting up and playing. Well, not completely shutting up, of course (hence the post).

The impact of the new economic changes have yet to be felt, but they lost me at 'hello'. Hello being 'credit nerf' in this case. I'm letting my premium expire in protest and dusting off some of my old favorites- many of which (que ironic chuckling in the background), have been given an income boost. Wargaming's plan, in this case, has completely backfired as they've now made a paying customer choose to play for free. /Golf clap

I am sure there are plenty of players eager to take my place and grind up the tech tree to get that special tank of their dreams. As for me, I have to say, I feel that I've achieved everything I set out to do the last time I paid for a premium account. I've got 100% crews in all the tanks I use (except one) and I've bought all the top-tier tanks I've thought I'd fancy, save for the IS-7. Unlocked it, but not bought as I just can't take buying one more top tier tank to find that I'm disappointed in some way (match maker problems, performance issues, 0-damage 'hits', lack of credits, stupid team-mates, etc). I was really looking forward to driving this one, but instead I'll play my KV which is both an income generator and a noob-pwner all in one.

Imagine a bored teller saying 'next?' Seriously...what more should I try for?

As a birthday present to myself (it was last week) I finished off my grind to the Chaffee and used free experience to unlock all the modules. I'm currently waiting on a discounted weekend to buy a golden crew (100%) and then it will be the only top-of-it's-class tank I run. Judging from the test server, it seems to lose about 10k a match, and with 8 million credits in the bank (plus a host of premium tanks which all make money) I can easily afford that.

Fun and challenging. The Chaffee! has announced that the 7.3 test will be starting soon and if they don't make a bollocks of the account-copying I should be able to try all the new Russian tanks that are incoming. I have everything needed for this one sitting in my garage (IS4, KV, KV-3) so now it's the waiting game......the free waiting game...... Oh, and I have to retract my last post on the new spotting system as they cut it from this patch. It was the one thing I was looking forward to as well. Insert disappointed emote here.

I'm working on bringing you something new for my World of Tanks post as the usual 'insight into the metagame' is, I feel, getting dull and somewhat repetitive. I may go with videos or tank-guides in the future but for now I'my trying to get some interviews done (and posted) of interesting players in the WoT world. Time to shift away from what I'm doing and (for a change) consider others. I know. I'm as shocked as you.