Thursday, October 1, 2009

State of Gaming - October

As we slip (officially?) into Fall - HI OCTOBER! - what's going on with my gaming?

I'm such a "behind the curve" gamer. I just picked up a batch of four XBox games that have been out for a while. My latest attempt to hook into the FPS genre, which I've never been a big fan of. Or am at all slightly proficient at playing - Dead Space, Dead Rising, Lost Planet and Devil May Cry 4 (Best Buy had a three pack of the latter three, and Dead Space was on sale). We'll see how that works out for me. I foresee a lot of frustrated controller throwing in my near future. And possibly nausea.

With the PS3 I jumped into Assassin's Creed this weekend, trying to get the feel for Altair's controls again. I missed diving off buildings. I'd put it down a few months back (April I think) when I hit memory block 5 and combat suddenly became a LOT harder. I really enjoy the game, but I need to hook myself into the control scheme before I become frustrated again. I find I'm running up walls when I meant to be running around them, and ladders have been confounding me lately. Elsewhere on the PS3, I'm poking into Penny Arcade's first chapter again.

The Wii has been gathering dust lately. Not much inclination to wave my arms around spastically in an attempt to get Mario (or anyone else) to gather bits and bobs. However, when The new Super Mario Brothers Wii version is released soon, I'll be all over it. I LOVED the DS version, and this one has multiplayer!

More of my recent gaming focus has been on the DS, spurred on by the latest Professor Layton adventure. I finished that already, and now I'm working through Scribblenauts, with Mario & Luigi, Bowser's Inside Story on deck. I picked up Lego Battles (because, you know, LEGO!) which has been a fun little strategy game. Very reminiscent of Civilization, but using the brick. And, since I convinced a good friend to pick up a DSi recently, I also grabbed some shovelware for the two of us to enjoy together - DRAMA QUEENS! A board game about being a teeny bopper worried about working at Hot Topic and who's dating who? Sign me up!!

PC wise I'm digging into EQ2's latest Game Update, #53. Tons of new bits to explore, including the Chronomagic, the new (to Norrath) Achievement system, Shard of Love, and a world event with a token (TOKENS!!!) reward system I must master. My laptop will be back on Saturday (Come on FedEx!) so I can get into two boxing and farming up some void shards for armor.

I also downloaded, but haven't yet installed, NeoSteam, based on some back issues of Beckett that dug into the game. I'm looking forward to losing myself to a couple of hours of that this weekend. Steampunkery for the win!

As ever, I'm faced with the conundrum of so much to do, and so little time to do it. I'm going to have to set myself up a schedule to get through all the great gamey goodness out there!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back to school!

Maybe it is the feel of fall in the air, or because I was lacking in card based combat. Or (most likely) because they bribed me with a 2500 gold prize I won for participating in their Facebook game. Whatever the impetus, I jumped back into Wizard 101 last night for an hour or so while I waited for my DVR to get a good lead time on Heroes.

I forgot how much fun this game is! I haven't played since mid July, though I've religiously banged in the codes for special weapons and pets that came out in Beckett's MMO magazine. I had a whole slew of new goodies to claim, as well as lots of new systems to begin exploring. Crafting has entered the game, an auction house, Grizzleheim, and there are a plethora of housing items for me to obsess over.

My favorite teacher, Cyrus Drake, was waiting for me, dripping with contempt and expecting answers as to why I hadn't finished the latest class quest with my level 29 Myth Wizard, Morgrim Hexmender. I just shrugged at him, and assured him I'd get right on it. The I skipped out of class and went in search of more housing goodies.

The last time I played I was on a mission to collect all the dropped and picked up housing items in Wizard City, so I could fully furnish my home. Thanks to the Friendly Necromancer's handy housing item chart, I was ready to farm to my little heart's content.

My first goal was to collect Rattlebone's feet. I'd been successively battling him in hopes they would drop, and had a bag full of junk that I'd gotten instead. Lucky for me, they dropped on the first fight! Woohoo! I have skeleton feet! I then stopped by my old dorm room to pick up all the furniture there, as well as hopped into the shopping district to get the little door from the pet shop. Let the decorating begin!

The wooded cottage actually has quite a bit of space for decorating. There are both indoor and outdoor areas, with a nice copse of trees and a river running through the grassy area out front. The Life Pedestal still seems to be broken (I couldn't get my Unicorn Statue on top of it) but the rest of my furniture looks great!

My next target is The Harvest Lord, who has a pumpkin and a smokey pillar that drop. It's nice to use these lower ranked targets as practice to get back into the game and remember what all my spells do. Soon enough I'll be back in Marleybone, completing my homework for Professor Drake!

Monday, September 21, 2009

DS is it!!

Most of my gaming time lately has been wrapped up in the latest Professor Layton adventure to be released stateside, the Diabolical Box. I fell in love with and devoured the first game, the Curious Village, because it was perfect for portable gaming. Easy to drop in and run through a few puzzles, or collect some hint coins, while standing in line at the grocery store. Diabolical Box takes the excellent formula from the first game, and makes it even better with a whole slew of quirky new characters and mind bending puzzles. Add in an interesting and innovative story, highlighted by superbly animated cut scenes and video, and I'm in gaming Heaven!

The puzzles range from the mundane to the complex, with many classics and many that are just plain tricky sprinkled about. Additionally, there are three mini-games that you can jump into whenever you like, new weekly downloadable puzzles from Level-5, and unlockable puzzles from completing mini goals during the storyline. The story itself has 138 puzzles, with an additional 18 unlockable for completing these goals, and (to count today) four weekly puzzles. On top of all this, the games interact with each other via passwords that unlock more puzzles and concept art.

Now I eagerly anticipate the next game in the series (according to Wikipedia there have been four and a half games released in Japan already) to be released here in the US so I can get my puzzle on again. In the meantime, I'm hunting down the soundtrack, as I love the music that is liberally sprinkled throughout the series.

Also, prompted by Stargrace's excited Twitterings, I picked up Scribblenauts yesterday and have been tearing through that ever since. I spent a good hour last night playing around on the log in screen, combining different tools and a variety of prehistoric monsters to see what kinds of trouble I could get in to.

Lots of good portable gaming to keep myself occupied on my commute for a while. Too bad I drive.... Time to look at getting back on the train!

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Fall TV schedule

Inspired by Ysh and Pete, here's my Fall TV line up. I arrange by network because... Well, why not?

The CW
Supernatural, Smallville, Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries
I'm a CW whore, but I have to agree with Ysh, Vampire looks kind of lame. It might get the axe from my DVR schedule soon. Supernatural is still my Buffy replacement. Smallville, even though the story lines are getting as lame as the final seasons of Charmed, still has its... well.. charm. (Not to mention Tom Welling! *drool*) But Gossip Girl? LOVE IT!!! True, scripted, FANTASTIC mind rottiness. XOXOX

Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Castle, Eastwick, Better Off Ted, V
Ah my "adult" brain candy rot show - the Housewives I expect to get even MORE ridiculous this season. Brothers & Sisters makes me cry, and I love it for that. Great ensemble cast. I'm giving Eastwick a chance. Totally can't wait for V, based solely on childhood memories of Jane Badler (Diana) swallowing a whole Chincilla on our TV. And Better Off Ted must come back as Ted is my current tv husband (he beat out Carter from Eureka and Will from Glee) and I can't get enough of him. And Castle is a must watch. Captain Hot Pants!!

Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother
The half hour comedies live on the TiVo in my bedroom, as I don't need to see them in HD. I can't wait to see what's in store for the boys when they get back from the North Pole. And maybe this season we'll actually find out WHO the mother is. Plus, NPH! How can you NOT watch NPH?!?

Fringe, Glee, Dollhouse, Family Guy, The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show
Yay Fox! You actually kept some good shows for once!! Dollhouse is going to be smoking this season. Fringe has already started off interestingly, if trite with the whole "We're killing off the main character!" drama gimmick in the first episode. But I fully expect Glee to be canceled within six episodes, because this network is run by asshats. I'll get my raunchy humor out of Family Guy. Simpsons is a winner. And I'm giving Cleveland a chance.

Merlin, Heroes
Ah Heroes, the trainwreck full of people I either don't know or don't care about. But I'll keep watching, hoping that this season something significant will happen. Or at least somebody hot or somebody with an amazing new power turns up. I do hope Merlin comes back. It is a new twist on the boring buddy comedy formula.

BBC America
Torchwood, Being Human, Doctor Who
I'm almost all caught up on Torchwood. About half way through Season two. Then Children of the Earth, and I'll be all set for next season. I LOVED Being Human, and I really hope they get picked up for Season 2. Doctor Who I'm fairly behind, though, and need to play some catch up on Netflix once I'm done with Torchwood.

The Food Network
Anything on this channel, What Would Brian Boitano Make?
Curse this channel for all its shows. I love them all. Edge of the seat, nerve wracking, nail biting terror for Chopped and the cake contests, and all of it. But my hat is off to WWBBM. This is the single gayest thing I've ever seen on TV. Ever. Beyond Queer as Folk. Blows the socks off South Park Big Gay Al episodes. This is pure, 100% homo in all its glory. I LOVE IT!

The Cartoon Network
Batman Brave & the Bold, Star Wars Clone Wars
I've got to catch up on these. All of last season is on the TiVo, but I haven't sat down to plow through them yet. I've heard too many good things about Clone Wars to skip it. Batman? Well, its Batman! How could I say no?

Phew!!! That's a LOT of TV. I'm sure some of these shows will get pared down asthe season wears on. Or they'll get dropped. But for now, I'm looking forward to a GREAT fall!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's in a name?

I'm going to change the name of my blog to Malfi's Meme-o-pad!!

Not really, but I saw this fun Meme by Ysharros over at Stylish Corpse and decided I wanted to do it too. Feel free to post it on your own site if you like. No obligations with this one.

1. What is your current main character’s name (or names, if you play multiple games)? Explain how you chose the name.

Current main character? Well... Let's see:

EQ2 - Malfi Autumnmist (Antonia Bayle) - Wood Elf Conjuror who is a compilation of the names of the two characters I first started playing back in EQ on the Rodcet Nife server way back when (see below).
LotRO - Malfirio (Windfola) - Man Hunter. Extension of my "primary" game name.
W101 - Morgrim HexMender - Myth Wizard exploring the world of Krokotopia. (No variation of Malfi)

The not so current:
WoW - Malfi (Proudmoore) - Undead Warlock and proud owner of a Fell Stead, a ridiculous imp, and a succubus who doesn't quite get it...
SWG - Malfi Iqu (Tarquinas) - Twi'Lek Grand Master Entertainer/Image Designer. Proprietor of Iqu's Hairdo's & Body Styling and the Pauze8 Saloon. (Well, former proprietor, since they are now packed up and on my pleasure barge, orbiting Tattooine).
MxO - Malfi (Syntax) - Are you sensing a pattern here?
V:SoH - Malfi (Um.... Wherever the League ended up) - Poncy druid of some sort I think.
CoH - Nyte Ember (Freedom? I think) - A Fire/Fire Blaster who has shadow abilities
CoV - Ahbra Kadaver (Freedom?) - Zombie/Dark Mastermind. LOVE this name and character build
FFXI - Malfi (No clue) - I think he was a Taru? Or maybe the human looking one? Don't remember, I didn't play very long.

2. What was the name of your very first character in an MMO? Explain how you chose that name.

I don't know where I pulled it out of, but I decided to call my very first character - Malfizorous, the half elf rogue of Qeynos (Rodcet Nife server) in EQ1. Yeah!! At level 20 I added in "Shadowslipper" as his surname. I may or may not have been reading through Lord of the Rings again when I named him. I guess "Z"s sounded more fantasy oriented to me? Malfizorous degraded (pretty quickly) to Malfi in guild chat, which is where my current crop of names comes from. Five characters are MUCH easier to type than the ten I started out with. After 55 levels (old school EQ levels) I picked up a high elf mage by the name of Xhar Autumnmist from a friend who swapped over to playing his bard. So that's where my current EQ2 character's name comes from - Malfi Autumnmist. An homage to the two of them.

3. Have you kept a specific name through various games, or do you tend to change your naming habits based on the individual game?

Depending on the world I do try for some variation of the name Malfi that fits in with the game culture. Barring that, Mattexl, an old, old, OLD Bulletin Board name, will do. For example, my Hunter on Landroval in LotRO is named "Texl". My tertiary name is Ashtarel (My secondary in SWG and the name of my Ratomancer in EQ2) as I like the sound of that name too.

For my alt army, however, all bets are off. There is no similarity between any of my other 23 alts in EQ2. I've always envied those people who manage to pull together names for all their alts that are recognizeable as being the same person - ending them in "gar" or starting each with "Vesp" or some such. But not me. My current EQ2 alt army includes Traigo Leafskimmer (Elf Ranger), Giagundous (Troll Berzerker), Purdi Durnuglee (Ogre Bard), Krylek (Arasai Wizard), Trincket Gnimbledigits (Gnome Warlock) and Poemia (Erudite Illusionist).

4. Do you ever reserve names, planning to use them for characters that you might play later? If so, what are they and why do you hold on to them?

No, I haven't ever reserved names. I always try for Malfi right away and if I can get that I'm pretty happy.

5. Of the three common archetypes in MMOs — tank, healer, DPS — which is your current main character?

My current mains are, all of them, DPS of one sort or another. Typically ranged, and usually with something I control between me and the bad guys.

6. What archetype was your very first character in an MMO? Why did you choose it?

Rogue was my first foray into MMOs. Unlike other people, I didn't swap around. I built the rogue and ran with it, right out the gate. I don't think I discovered the joys of altaholism until I was well into the 30s. Why did I choose the Rogue? Probably sneak hide, as I like to explore and I figured that combo set would let me get through the most places if I really wanted to. Oh! And I like staring at butts. I have a screen shot gallery somewhere of all the Norrathian butt I've stared at over the years, as that is just about all you would see as a rogue back then. Just get behind it and backstab to your heart's content. If you don't see a butt in front of you, you're doing something wrong!

7. Are you usually attracted to one archetype over another, or do you play them equally? Why?

Pets! PETS! PETS!!!! I loves the pets! Oh how I loves my minions! I'm hooked on pet classes and really enjoy playing them. I started with the Rogue but once I had a taste of mage goodness with Xhar, I've tried to find pet classes in every game I've played. I love the versatility, soloability (usually) and the fact that I have a custom made speedbump/meatshield right there whenever I need it. I was in HEAVEN when they added Masterminds to CoV. Too bad there isn't a Hero side equivalent.

In general, though, I prefer DPS classes. I don't like the responsibility of a healer, as I have ADHD to the extreme and have a tendency to wander away from the computer when things slow down and I'm bored - hence why I mostly solo. I'm much too pretty and WAAAY to intelligent to be a tank. (J/K to all the meat shields out there!)

8. What is your favorite feature from an MMO you no longer play?

What about a favorite feature of an MMO that I DO play, but it has been taken out? My most missed feature from EQ2 is the original crafting system! Complain all you want, I loved the complexity and interdependency of it. It wasn't the dump things in a hopper and press a button to get a "CLOAK OF AMAZING AMAZINGNESS" ten seconds later. Subcombines, usually made by another class, that required thought to gather items up for and coordination to make sure you could get to the point you wanted to get to. It spoke to OCD me (Who manages to beat ADHD me into submission when I've got something to REALLY focus on) and was one of the things I enjoyed most in the game.

9. Is there an MMO that you would play if it was free? Which and why?

I'll try any free MMO, just to check it out. Why not? I'm not losing any cash over it. And you can find some real gems. Wizard 101 is an EXCELLENT example, that I have subsequently dumped a bunch of cash into with my crown purchases. I've also got Dream of Mirror Online, Runes of Magic, and Mount & Blade on my computer waiting to play some more. The best thing about them? I don't flog myself for NOT playing, as I'm not spending any money on any of them.

10. How do you measure the success of a character in an MMO (total kills, titles accumulated, wealth, rare items collected, level reached, etc.)?

I agree with Ysh on this one. Fun! If I'm having fun playing the character, then it is a successful character. If I'm not having fun, and spending hours and hours doing it, then I really need to step back and reevaluate what I'm doing and why.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A MEME! A real, live, MEME!

Wow! Stargrace tagged me in a meme. I'm very touched, and appreciative of her doing so. She is a great friend, and an excellent writer, so head over there and check out her blog if you haven't yet.

In any event, Here is the MEME:

"This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver's opinion, brilliant."

Now, I know for SURE that the little bits and bobs of writing I've actually placed on here (few and far between to be honest) are short of anything resembling brilliance. However, since this is my first MEME tag I'm going to leap into it with GUSTO! Here are the rules:

1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.

2. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don't have seven friends. Show the seven random victims' names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were pized with Honest Weblog. Well, there's no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

How exciting!!! I have a TON of bloggers I read. I may have some trouble getting comments posted (for some reason many blog sites HATE my work computer, which makes me a blog lurker most of the time) but I'll get a message to them somehow. So, in no particular order whatsoever, here we go...

The Ancient Gaming Noob - Great writing that encompasses a weekly gaming group, interesting stories about Eve Online, and truly heartwarming family gaming.

Bannable Offenses - The rantings of GM Dave never fail to amuse me. Even though my career in FFXI was short lived, I love to hear about his exploits working on the game. And of course there's Susan. EVERYONE loves Susan!

Shattered - I enjoy reading Kasul's take on the various games that he plays, and hope to spend some more time in game with him in the near future. I think we'll have a blast journeying through Middle Earth together.

Dragon Chasers - A circular tag, since Pete tagged Star who tagged me, but whatever. :-) Pete's writing is interesting and fun, and lot of his thoughts about gaming are similar to my own. Many times I'll find myself nodding my head as I read through his posts about this and that.

West Karana - I think you would be hard pressed to find a gaming blogger participating in this meme who DOESN'T link to West Karana. Tipa is the most prolific writer and gamer I've ever met. How she finds the time to play all the games she is into, and write intelligently about them, and create her AiM comics, and get her finger into all the other things she pokes into, as well as maintaining a life, job and sanity, I will never know. My hat is off to this very classy lady.

Gnewton's Journey - Gnewton is a gnome I know. We played together for a while in the Nostalgia guild Tipa put together in EQ1 last year. While we don't see as much of each other in game any more, I enjoy checking in on his blog every now and again. His journeys, both in and out of game, are inspirational for all of us.

Ommatidia - While not really a blog, but still able to be loaded into Google Reader, Ommatidia is an ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING creative writing experiment. Each "post" is limited to 101 words, and is used to further the story of one of the many characters that the author has created. They are not continuous and rarely is the same character written about day to day, but the various vignettes come together into a cohesive story "whole" (for lack of a better term) that is enthralling. This is one of the sites that I most look forward to reading each day.

Whoo!! Limiting it to just seven is tough! Hopefully you find one or two bloggers you haven't read before and will be adding them to your regular reading schedule.

Now for the facts:
1. I love my 18 year old cat Tobie more than anything, and every time I think about losing him I start to tear up.
2. I miss my family on the west coast terribly, and look forward to moving back home in the next year or two.
3. I like to eat brussel sprouts. With garlic. And salt. YUM!
4. I have more Lego than I know what to do with.
5. I am an Aries through and through. I exhibit just about every trait associated with this sign (both positive and negative) to a "T."
6. I have more games (video, computer, console, handheld, board, card) than I know what to do with.
7. I danced ballet for 10 years after high school, and miss it a great deal. Especially around Christmas, when I'm NOT dancing in the Nutcracker.
8. I have more Magic:The Gathering cards than I know what to do with.
9. I could be the poster child for ADHD.
10. I need to exercise more. A lot more. (Points to the Wii Fit gathering dust in the living room)

And there you have it. My first Meme! Fun for EVERYONE!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Room to spare

With the influx of so much new shiny, you'd think I'd have plenty to keep me occupied when I get home from work. And I do, it's just that presented with so many options I tend to lock up and can't decide what to do.

So after dinner last night, I just went with my old standby, EQ2. Since I played my carpenter up from 50 - 62 primarily on the new TSO instances, I had a backlog of Carpenter recipes to get through. Including the new Wantia recipes from the Village of Shin. An hour or so at the woodworking table, and I was 15% through 64 with all recipes completed.

Taking Kasul's advice from this post I headed to the daily tradeskill instance to grind out the rest of level 64, even though my vitality was shot. Why would I do this you ask? Well... it has to do with space.

See, I'm an altaholic. I've got 24 characters on Antonia Bayle. They are all in the same guild, spread across two accounts, and space is at a premium for me. I don't have enough of it. Malfi (my main) has had a bank account stuffed to the gills since about level 2. I'm an insatiable collector of anything that isn't nailed down. And I never throw anything away. I still have some blown glass tradeskill components on my alchemist, and those have been out of game for over a year - or is it two now?

I need space.

Level 65, for carpenters, has the LOVELY Rosewood Strong Boxes. 32 slots of storage goodness! And I need 334 of them. So my goal was to hit 65 and start grinding out the storage for my bank slots. I managed to upgrade all of Yrkin's (Carpenter) bank slots as well as Maellendy's (Alchemist) before I headed to bed. This weekend I hope to finish off the rest of the characters on my main account and start working on the second.

I'm also going to make some Ebony Furniture Shelves so all the bits and bobs I've made over the past 20 levels can get onto the broker and stop clogging up my bank space!

My next tradeskiller to focus on will be the tailor, as my alt army needs storage space while adventuring. Texl is only in his 20s now, so he has a long way to go, but with experience potions and full vitality he should be able to get there fairly quickly.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Holiday Gaming

I'll admit it. I spoiled myself ROTTEN this holiday season. Despite dire predictions by my manager, I actually pulled in a very respectable end of year bonus for all my hard work in 2008. Enough to pay off the debt I wanted to tackle and leave some left over for fun! My holiday gaming gift(s) to myself were:

Guitar Hero III w/ guitar (PS3)
Guitar Hero World Tour w/complete band (PS3)
Wii Fit (Wii) - Thank you Canadia!!
Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party (Wii)
Ultimate Ghosts N' Goblins (PSP) - Circuit City bargain bin
Devil May Cry 2 (PS2) - Circuit City bargain bin
Myst (DS) - Circuit City bargain bin
Lock's Quest (DS)
Lord of the Rings Online Lifetime Subscription and Mines of Moria (PC)

Let it be know I did my part to support the American (and Canadian) economy!! And my amazing family gave me two more Wii Motes and two more Nunchucks. Merry Christmas to me! I can't wait to crack into all of them with friends, especially World Tour and Rayman. I'd forgotten how much fun the Guitar Hero series is and have really enjoyed getting back into it.

For now, though, my gaming is focused on a golden oldy. Like many of the bloggers I read, I have a HUUUUUUUGE backlog of single player games for my consoles that I haven't finished. My current goal is to finish off God of War I, so I can work through GoW II. I last seriously played GoW in April of 2007, where I got stuck on the beam walk section of Hade's Challenge and, after dying many, MANY multiples of times, gave up in frustration. When I fired it up the other night I buzzed right through that and completed a huge chunk of the remainder of the game.

After I finish Kratos' journey I may look in on Dante and work through the Devil May Cry series. Or maybe I'll finish up the Prince's journey through Persia. So much good gaming to be done, and the freezing heart of winter is the perfect time to do it!