Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wii wish you a Merry Christmas!!

Here it is, Christmas Eve and I am home in California, far from the freezing ice in Boston. In all the years I've lived away from mom and dad, Christmas always meant a couple of days away from the hustle and bustle of my every day life and getting to recapture what it was like to be a kid. This year I decided to bring along my Wii to pass the time on Christmas Day waiting for my sister and nephew to get here.

When I set up the console last night, I plugged in Wii Play to teach my mom how to use the wiimotes. We had a great time playing the cow racing game, knocking down scarecrows and running into trees. Then I plugged in WiiSports when my dad came in for the night. We ended up bowling until midnight, which was a lot of fun. They both kicked my butt (beginner's luck!!) and we all had a lot of fun.

This is what the holidays are all about. Spending time with friends and family, playing games, having a good time, and making memories together. Like laughing about how you get nothing but splits no matter how you bowl. Or how impossible it is to get a strike even if you get it right into the pocket. >:-)

Wherever you are and whatever you are up to tonight, have a wonderful time and remember to tell the people you care about that you love them. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and lots of gaming goodness under your tree!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Crafting weekend...

With two blizzards blowing through Boston this weekend, it was the perfect opportunity to focus on crafting with my many alts in EQ2. I buckled down and got a lot accomplished:

Yrkin completed his second crafting instance, this time outfitting the dwarves in Firemyst Gulley. He gained three more levels and is now a level 60 Carpenter.

Maellendy churned out potions and combat arts to gain four levels to become a 50 Alchemist. Now she can delve into the wonderful world of the crafting instance as well.

Trincket gained three levels, going from just barely into 43 to a 46 Jewelcrafter.

Xharel gained four levels going from midway through 43 to 47 in Woodworking.

In my next push I'll get the two of them up to instance level as well.

My other crafters - Texl, Tobiegh, Granyte and Exander didn't get any attention this weekend, but I may have time at the aiport tonight to play them a bit and get some crafting done. They are all still in high 20s to mid 30s, so they have a long way to go.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Potato Heads!!!

For Halloween this year I decided I wanted a Mr. Potato Head for my desk at work. Just something to have fun with and liven up my office. Then for Christmas I decided I needed more! They all came today and my absolute favorite is Opti-Mash Prime!

A little Googling later and I found all sorts of Potato Head sets I can pick up. And I remember from last year's visit to the NYC Disney Store that they have bins of Potato Head parts I can pick up. So I'll have to make a trip down to the city soon...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Interesting Bits

Today I got to spend some quality time with my DS. It's very quiet around here right now, due to the craptastic economy and not much going on client wise. So I was able to sneak in a surprising amount of time with my favorite handheld.

I decided to tackle the last few puzzles I had to solve in Professor Layton and the Curious Village (Guitar Hero On Tour being a bit too rambunctions for stealth play in my cubicle).

I have been putting off these last few brain teasers since midsummer when I first picked up and immediately got hooked on the game. It has a great story, stunning graphics and some amazingly fun puzzles. There were a couple of mind benders I just couldn't figure out as well as a few Sliding Block puzzles (which I abhor) on my To Do list.

The best part of the game is the interesting story line that is interwoven with the many different types of puzzles. Add to this the unlockable bonus content and the 26 downloadable "weekly" puzzles and you've got more than 150 different puzzles to try your luck with. Most of the puzzles have a slight trick or different way of looking at that, once you discover it, makes them amazingly simple to solve. A few even have the "*smack your forehead* I can't believe it was that EASY!" solutions to them.

If you haven't picked up this little gem, and you enjoy fiddling with puzzles, you should go get it. Right now! The game is an excellent fit for the DS, as you can use the stylus to help figure out the solutions to the mind benders. I for one am eagerly awaiting a port of the sequel (which has been out in Japan since last year) and hope that Nintendo gets it here in time for my birthday next year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Shadow Odyssey Introduction

Read through the story below for a nice little in game accounting of what I've been up to since TSO shipped. Rather than deal with the lag of a hundred bajillion adventurers fighting over mobs and resources in the Moors, I decided to jump right into the crafting aspects of the expansion. Other than Malfi as an 80 sage, Yrkin was my next highest crafter at 50. Since that is just the right level to participate, I took him to the Moors and found the Ship Out! quest line to get the necessary faction for the Supply Division. Since then he has done the Clockwork instance once, solo, getting him to level 55 and also earned two more levels doing first time combines of the essential recipes in the 50 - 55 Carpenter books. That puts him at 57 right now with a slowly replenishing vitality. He's also done two weekly quests and is eyeballing some writs for faction as well.

Trincket and Maellendy are my next two highest crafters, and I've been working on them in the traditional way. Since they are both scholars, they can level just off pristine combines without too much reliance on writs. Both gained three levels - Maellendy 43 to 46 and Trincket 40 to 43. My Woodworker, Xharel, is also in his 40s, but I was getting bored with crafting by this point. As Stargrace says, after doing the tradeskill instances, crafting the old way is just not as much fun!

So I took a break from the crafting table and took Yrkin out for some adventuring in Antonica. He had earned a couple of levels in Mara running the introduction to the village quests, which dinged him up to 20 or so. I wanted to get him his Shin charm, but for that he needs harvesting of 240. Most of his skills were in the 30s, except trapping which was NINE! Oye! So back to Oakmyst and The Caves to get that up to the minimum for Antonica, then out for harvesting. I forgot how much fun I have in Antonica, and I started running quest lines as I was seeking out harvestable bits all over the place. This of course lead to more levels which got me to looking at my gear... Ugly. So...

I decided to get him geared up with full Steel armor (Granyte) and weapons (Exander), bow and arrows (Xharel) hex dolls (Texl), food/drink (Tobiegh), and jewelry (Trincket) as well as App IV abilities (Maellendy). Yes, I have every crafting class available to me, and I LOVE to gear my alts up with all crafted stuff. It's a great way to play the game in my opinion as it really feels like you are taking a character from nothing and working your way up through the ranks! I used steel for the armor and main weapons, fir buckler and bow, and non-rare materials for the rest of it. I really like the smart loot options they put in place in Antonica. 99% of the time a Treasured chest gives him a new Adept I which is a GREAT way to adventure. Always something useful!

That's what has been keeping me busy in game! What was supposed to be 20 minutes or so crafting up his skills the other night turned into a three our, alt hopping, craft-a-palooza! But my hoppy little Paladin looks pretty good in all his gear now!

I also bid farewell to the Renegades with Malfi, moving him over to my crafting guild. Since the TSO Signature series of quests grants Status at most of the steps, and there are five (or so) new Heritage quests out there, AND Renegades are already a level 80 guild, I decided to swap him over to take advantage of the status he is going to be earning. Autumnmist Enterprises is the name of my little alt guild and currently we are level 12. Every bit of status, at this point, helps a lot so I wanted to see that status put to good use.

Outside of adventuring and crafting I've been decorating a bit, and put together what I think is a great little apartment for Maellendy in Baubblshire. If you get a chance, stop by and check it out. I have it all decorated for Frostfell right now, and will probably take some pictures of it to post here and/or in the Norrathian Homeshow thread on the official forums this weekend.

Finally, I'm going to be working on my Fury (Autumnmyst) who is currently 42. I want to get him up to 50 so he and Malfi can duo some of the instances. I've heard about the lootable furniture in the instances and want to get myself some of that, as well as the Void Shards that are available.

So much to do and so little time!

Oh! And for those keeping track... I haven't touched any information about TSO yet, outside of great blog posts by Star and Tipa. Everything I've done in TSO so far has been by my own blood, sweat and tears. And I LOVE it!

Autumnmist Enterprises Quarterly Report

Report on the activities of Autumnmist Enterprises
As delivered by Xharel Notedancer
Chief Correspondent of Autumnmist Enterprises
At the quarterly Ironforge Exchange shareholder meeting
Steelday, the second of Firstchill

My dear sirs,

It should come as no surprise to any of you that Lord Malfi Autumnmist has a most excellent relationship with the Far Seas Trading Company. This conjuror extrordinaire has worked with the trading company since the moment he was discovered by their Captain Varlos adrift in the high sees surrounding the Shattered Lands. Long ago he became so popular with the Company they stopped offering him any incentive to continue such menial tasks as they offer to the common adventurer and now only call upon him when they are in need of his superior skills. This makes the advent of the new Supply Division of the company quite vexing to him.

Many of you know my lord well, but allow me a moment to introduce him to those among us who have not had the pleasure of making his aquaintance. Lord Autumnmist is a world renowned Sage. He has gained the trust of the residents of the Village of Shin, creating the Legendary Paper for the Augren family and earning their Auspicious Inkwell. He's proven his Master Sage abilities to the residents of Teren's Grasp in the perilous lands of Kunark, earning from them the Fabled Earring of the Solstice, thought to be lost in ages past. He has spent months harvesting resources all across the globe to show, again to the villagers of Shin, his mastery of harvesting and earning the coveted multi-colored cloak they honor in recognition of such abilities. And of course he has spent countless hours harvesting resources and crafting spells for you, the good people of the Iron Forge Exchange, as part of your certification programs. These hours were well spent hunched over the Engraved Desk workstations in the Willow Wood learning new techniques for crafting more and more powerful spells of mystic and divine force, as well as supplying the spells needed for his army of minio- err employees.

To be honest, though, this man is no saint of the crafting arts. He has been lacking in his pursuit of secondary trade skill knowledge. Months of pursuit of treasured bits in order to garner a basic understanding of Transmuting came to naught when the ultimate analysis found the cost to benefit ratio on this skill set were far below the minimums required by the Enterprise. As such, he returned to the lands of Faydwer and humbly requested the gnomish crafting guilds share with him the secrets of the ancient art of Tinkering. As it turns out, this skill has a much lower ratio of cost to benefit than Transmuting and after many hours of determiend study, my lord has just barely mastered making Gnomish Cross Trainers reliably. For now, the pursuit of this secondary skill has been set aside for a future rainy day. A rainy day far, far in the future.

But given all of his accomplishments, you can imagine that the prospects of proving himself, once again, to this all new trading group in order to earn the rights of access to the special books and bits and bobs they've discovered in the Moors of Ykesha is, well... That it is disappointing to say the very least. Especially considering the missed opportunity to garner the enormous amounts of favor they were granting in the heady early days of discovery due to his commitments here at the Exchange. It may be that in the future he will focus on building a personal relationship with this group, perhaps when he has the time to advance his skills in spellcrafting again. For now, however, he is content to explore the Moors, helping to tame the new lands and continue on in his adminstrative role with Autumnmist Enterprises.

In his stead he has appointed a number of talented staff members to the task of building a relationship between our firm and the new division the Far Seas Trading Company. Allow me to introduce to you Maellendy Briarthorn, Trincket Gnimbledigits and Yrkin B'Gurggle.

Maellendy Briarthorn is a rambunctious young halfling ranger who, at an early age and much to the dismay of her parents, took a strong interest in chemistry. The family farm still bears the tell-tale signs of many of her early experiments. Who knew that one shouldn't mix sulphur with an open flame in a barn full of dry hay and milk cows? Over the years she has turned her talent for explosiveness into a lucrative career as an Alchemist and is currently working through her Advanced Tradesman certification with your most esteemed organization. Recently she taken great strides forward in her abilities and is hoping to journey to the Village of Shin in the near future in order to be introduced to Supply Division representatives.

Lord Autumnmist discovered Trincket Gnimbledigits while adventuring among the ruins of Ak'Anon, now called Klak'Anon by many, when she was very young. The distraught gnomish lass was nearly comatose, in a state of emotional shock and clinging to a bag of intricate carving tools. She muttered to herself constantly and exhibited an unnatural, for a gnome, fear of anything clockwork. Lord Autumnmist coaxed her out of her hiding place and brought her back to Qeynos where, after a good cleaning, a hearty meal and many years of intensive therapy, it was discovered she had a knack for working with gems and soft metals. She quickly rose in the ranks and became one of the leading Jewelcrafters of the guild, now entering your Advanced Tradesman certification training program and eagerly looking forward to traveling to the Village of Shin with Ms. Briarthorn. She does, however, still have some issues regarding her early confinement in Klak'Anon and approaches clocks and other ticking objects with extreme caution and much reluctance.

Yrkin B'Gurggle is a talented young Froglock Paladin from the idyllic Castleview Hamlet. Raised in a family of devout Marr followers, even when it seemed the gods had left us, Yrkin firmly believes that helping others is the highest calling one can achieve. To this end he has long cultivated his natural abilities with wood and metal to help shelter and furnish the homes of the steady influx of refugees joining us in Qeynos. With the recent discovery of the Moors of Ykesha, he is eager to return to his people's ancestral homelands and strives to forward his knowledge as a paladin, righting wrongs in the lands surrounding Qeynos. However, he understands that his considerable talents as a Carpenter will allow him to have an impact in the Moors much sooner than his ability to swing a sword. Recently graduated from your prestigious Advanced Tradesman course, he immediately took an internship with the Supply Division. His talents have grown expansively under their tutelage and he is rapidly becoming one of their favored Carpenters.

As you can see, gentlemen, Autumnmist Enterprises is committed to forwarding our relationship with the Far Seas Trading Company, further cementing the excellent ties between this expansive corporation and the great city of Qeynos. If any of you should have specific questions regarding our current goals, or wish to personally interview any of our staff members, I will be more than pleased to arrange a private meeting at the Lion's Mane Tavern in the South of Qeynos.

Until next we meet, I bid you farewell and much good fortune.

{Recorded by Ebnezer Quillmender, scribe to the Ironforge Exchange}

Look for more stories in the future as we track the adventures of these three up and coming artisans!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Interesting Bits

Wednesdays are going to be Interesting Bits days! These will be little things I've been toying with this week, and want to throw up a quick post on. Yes, yet another attempt to give some structure to my blogging.

Everyone else in the blogosphere has already posted about it, so I'm going to also! Auditorium. Click on it. Play it. Experience it. Even if you aren't a gamer. This thing is AMAZING! Simple to navigate and learn how to play, but very complex in figuring out the interactions of the light/sound stream.

Playing around with it a bit this morning, I was reminded of two of my favorite PS3 downloads. PixelJunk Eden and Linger in Shadows are two... experiences I really enjoy.

PixelJunk Eden is an amazing little game where you jump and swing your way around a neon garden environment, collecting bits of fluff. The goal - grow more plants in the environment in an effort to collect all the large seeds scattered around the garden. The more seeds you get the more environments you open up. It is an amazing little program that packs a lot of diversity into a simple (in appearance) design. A platformer with a twist, everything is done via threads you swing on from plant to plant.

Linger in Shadows isn't a game, but a demoscene project published by Plastic out of Poland. I downloaded it from the Playstation Store the other night, and was immediately hooked. Basically, it is a graphical/technical demo that has a bit of interactivity attached to it. By fooling around with your SixAxis or DualShock 3 controller you can unlock interesting things in the demo to earn trophies for your collection.

I really like all three of these games as they explore gaming beyond the "traditional" aspects of bash/quest/save the princess. Go back up there and click on the Auditorium link. And, if you have a PS3 I definitely recommend giving the other two a chance. You will be extremely happy you did!

On a slightly different front, I've been very good at keeping my ShutterCal updated. I've only missed one day so far! I'm finding the project to be a lot of fun, looking for different pictures to take and getting them posted up. ShutterCal has a friendly community, full of talented people taking pictures all over the world. If you have any interest in photography, or even if you just have a camera, you should go check it out.