… a level at a time.

Posts tagged “RPG

Life’s Journey…

Hmm… three posts to cover 2011? This blog has not turned into what I originally intended. I was thinking a post a month at the very least would be good. Oh well… it is what it is, I guess.

I had a fantastic time camping with my friends back in June. It’s been a while since I had gone camping. We stayed at the Wakins Glen campground Friday night through Sunday morning.

Friday night after everyone had finished setting up, we spent hanging around the camp site – drinking, talking, & playing card games.

We spent a chunk of Saturday walking the gorge. Of course I took my camera; my friends got a little annoyed with how long I was taking… but being a photographer, I couldn’t help but stop to take pictures. I was taking a lot of long shutter speed pictures and multiple exposures for HDR images. After walking around the gorge for a while we went back to camp; we made some new friends that were there camping across the way from us.

After that a group of us went out on wine tasting. I didn’t do any tastings, because I decided to drive. When we got back from the tasting tour, we went back to our new friends’ camp site and spent the evening partying.

When I had finished post-processing my photos and posted them, most of the people that had complained about me taking so long responded with something like, “I see what took so long, good thing you didn’t rush. These are some gorgeous shots!”

I spent the fourth of July with a bunch of friends; there was a BBQ at Katie’s house. That night we drove to the city to watch the fireworks. I made my first attempt at taking photos of fireworks and think I did rather well. After watching the fireworks we made our way back to Katie’s.

Most of the group was ready to head to bed, so they left. Katie and I decided we wanted to watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog.

After that night, Katie and I started hanging out on a daily basis, up from our once every month or so. We started geocaching & going on all sorts of adventures together.

Katie and I went on our first date on July 19th; we took a day trip to Niagara Falls. She likes to think that she asked me out… in all honesty, she kind-of did, but I like to think of it as a joint effort [haha]: I mentioned that I still needed to get up to Niagara Falls so I could take pictures; she said that she wanted to go up there again soon, and said we should go together. One of us [I don’t remember who] made the semi-joking comment, “It’s a date.” Well, that semi-joking comment made us think, is it really a date-date or was it just a date we had set to go?

On the 19th, I drove out to Katie’s and we packed up lunch and snacks for a picnic, then left for Niagara Falls. After walking around for a while [and me stopping repeatedly for photos], Katie poked fun at me & told me that she was going to make me an “I break for photos” patch for my camera bag [which I’m still waiting for, lol]. After we had been there a while we began talking about what there was between us… were we just awesome friends, or was there more? Shortly after that, we made our relationship official.

In August, I had my first legit paid photography gig – a wedding vow renewal. It was a bit nerve-racking, but it was my first paid gig, and it was a wedding. At least it wasn’t their first wedding [not to make it sound that the renewal wasn’t important], so it wasn’t as stressful as if I was in charge of getting all the pictures perfect or suffer the wrath of the family. They also understood that I was new to the events/portrait photography. It was a great experience and even though it was stressful, it was a lot of fun. I think I still prefer landscape/nature photography though.

Katie and my next great adventure together was the Sterling Renaissance Festival, we went with our friends Kat and Shannon. They managed to get me in a kilt. Not that it was very hard, I think it went something like: Katie- “I want to see you in a kilt before we leave.” Kat & Shannon- “Yes!” Me- “I was thinking about checking them out anyways, but ok… if you insist.”

My 10-year high school reunion was in August of 2011. I had some car problems and almost couldn’t go due to repair costs, but then I suggested being an unpaid photographer in exchange for free admission & got in to the reunion that way. It was cool seeing everyone again, even though I didn’t talk to most of them back in high school.

Katie and I attended Uproar Festival 2011 with a bunch of friends… that was a great day. All day at the Darien Lakes Performing Arts Center listening to a bunch of great bands while hanging out with some awesome people. Katie and I ended up taking almost the same picture, just a slightly different angle, and I edited mine a little.

Last year was the first time I’ve dressed up for Halloween in a few years. Katie and I dressed up as Desmond Miles and Lucy Stillman from Assassin’s Creed.

Katie’s little brother needed his senior pictures done, and her parents requested my services to take said portraits. Because of this, I ended up picking up my second paid photo gig.

We started off by doing a bunch of the traditional shots, where Katie was helping with getting Tommy into the positions that they wanted for indoor & outdoor shots. After we had finished with the traditional sets, Tommy and I screwed around and got a few fun pictures of him with his dirt bike.

One of my instructors at school invited me to pick up my third paid photo job. There was an event at the Phelps Art Center where Stan Munro, the creator of Toothpick City was at the center giving a demo for some kids & there was a reception after.

It was a lot of fun & great getting to meet Stan. I had been to the Phelps Art Center a few times before to look at & take pictures of the display. It’s amazing what he’s done with just toothpicks & Elmer’s Glue.

I have started playing video games a bit more again: Assassin’s Creed: RevelationsBattlefield 3The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, and Red Dead Redemption [Katie got me this for Christmas].

I honestly haven’t played a ton of Assassin’s Creed. Between Katie, school, & Battlefield 3 – I didn’t have enough time to invest and get caught up in the story. Maybe I’ll hit it up some more later this week.

Battlefield 3, ah… Battlefield. I have heard friends say both good and bad things about BF3. All-in-all, it’s pretty much the same game as Bad Company 2. Sure, they’ve made it much prettier, added a few things here and there, and added a new physics engine… but it’s essentially the same game as every other FPS out there. Even so, I still enjoy the game immensely. It’s not a game I can spend days playing though, it gets too repetitive.

I was debating getting Skyrim, I’ve messed with most of the past Elder Scrolls games, but I never got very involved with them, I just got bored. Ever since I snagged Skyrim, most of my gaming-time is spent there. To say the game is amazing would be an understatement. The world is massive, there are tons of quests and things to be done. I have a level 37 Orc warrior that focuses on bows & two-handed weapons. I started a mage & thief characters around the same time as my warrior, but the warrior was the only one that has really kept my interest.

Red Dead Redemption is another game I wasn’t sure if I wanted. It was neat and all, but I had played a bit at a friend’s and wasn’t very impressed. The lack of excitement probably stemmed from a few weeks after it was released, when a friend tossed me the controller to a game that he was half way through and didn’t give me much of the back-story or any real instruction about what I was supposed to do. Katie got it for me as a Christmas gift and my interest in the game perked up again. It’s a pretty good game, kind of like a GTA of the wild west.

Skyrim is still consuming most of my gaming time, which is hindering progress in the other three games… but they are coming along, slowly.

This past semester at school went really well too. I took my first Photography class; it was all black & white film, and I loved it. As much as I enjoy digital, it’s a blast developing and printing photos. I also took Computer Imaging, which was loads of fun… even though a good chunk of it was review. I finished up the Design & Foundation Drawing class chain taking the second part of each. The last class I took the past semester was Ceramics I, I decided to take this so that I could make things that I can actually use in every-day-life now that the classes are done.

The other day I received a letter in the mail from school, I was worried that it might be an issue with billing or something. Luckily, it was to tell me that I was added to the Dean’s List this semester because my GPA was above 3.5!

All that being said, I leave you with an inspirational video for the start of the year. ❤

The words in this video are from Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Congratulations!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!



Absence.

It’s been a while… I’ll keep this update short and focused on games. The reason for the lack of posts is because I got caught up with projects & homework for school, not to mention Thanksgiving & Christmas.

Deathengine went as a farmer for Halloween [erm… Hallow’s End].

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm came out the beginning of December. I have mixed feelings about this release… mostly due to the quest related issues I’ve been having. Deathengine has been bugged since day one; only half the quests in each of the new zones have not been available to him [with the exception of Twilight Highlands]. There’s one faction I can’t gain any reputation with because the quest line was cut off before I started gaining any reputation.

The new zones are absolutely beautiful. Blizzard put a lot of detail into the new areas. In my opinion, one of the most stunning [as well as the most annoying] zones is Vash’jir… the underwater zone.

Heroic dungeons have gotten an interesting upgrade… they’re like mini-raids. Groups really have to pay attention to what they’re doing in order to succeed. If you get into a dungeon, you’re usually hoping there’s enough crowd control for the run [or a good enough tank/heals/dps to make up for the lack of crowd control].

I was debating dropping my Blood [tank] spec on Death for a Frost [DPS] spec.. but I already have my Unholy spec for DPS… what’s the point of two DPS specs? In the end I kept the Blood spec and have started gathering gear here and there so I can tank instances. He currently has enough gear to tank normals, but I don’t think he’s even close to being ready for tanking heroics. Right now he’s dual-wield Unholy, but someone was saying yesterday that Blizzard wants Unholy to use tw0-handed weapons and are looking at making DW less viable. If that’s the case I’m going to have to get another two-handed weapon for DPSing. I’m working on Archaeology right now, and looking to get Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds. I still have a few other pieces that need upgrading too, my helmet and relic are kind of pathetic. I had the best-in-slot [pre-raid] helmet swiped from me by a healer the other day, annoying. Now I’m doing guild-only runs whenever possible.

My guild wants to get started with raiding soon, I’ve only raided with them once or twice so far back in Wrath of the Lich King. From what I’ve seen… most players that are the “Casual” rank don’t get to raid with them which bothered me. Once discussions started about raiding, I noticed I was promoted to the rank of “Raider”. Needless to say, I can’t wait… of course I know it’s going to be lots of wipes until everyone gets the fights down [that’s gonna be expensive].

I also picked up Dragon Age: Origins again, strictly because I haven’t finished it yet. I’m slowly working my way through that. It’s still not great, but decent… and it’s something I need to finish. I played it maybe two days before I needed a break… can you tell how much I like the game? I don’t normally trade games in, but that’s one that I’m pretty sure I will.

A few friends and I are looking to set up a Dungeons and Dragons: Midnight campaign. Hopefully we’ll be starting it later this month. We’ve got to meet up at some point to set up our characters before we can start the game though. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that sometime soon, otherwise we might not get to start the campaign til February.


First time raiding.

Well, I managed to finish all the projects I had for school. I had a few days to relax and managed to get a bit of gaming in.

Over the weekend one of the guild leaders asked if I wanted to go to Icecrown Citadel with the guild. According to wow-heroes my Death Knight wasn’t geared for ICC… especially twenty-five man. He only had Tier-9 and heroic gear. They told me it was an alt-run so it didn’t really matter if I was geared enough or not, everyone else knew what they were doing & there would be some mains to help with the under-geared. I decided to tag along.

We had a few bad pulls on the way to the first boss, Lord Marrowgar. Someone stepped a little too close to a second group of mobs and pulled the whole center of the room while we were mid-fight which resulted in the first wipe. After the first wipe things went pretty smoothly.

We paused briefly before engaging Lord Marrowgar so I could be informed about the boss fight & what needed to be done [not much explanation needed]. It probably helped that a lot that everyone else knew the fight so it was just one person that it had to be explained to. We downed Lord Marrowgar pretty quickly and all the drops were caster, so nothing useful for my DK.

We cleared through the trash easily and made it to Lady Deathwhisper fairly soon after downing the first. We had to stop a bit longer because the Main Tank had to go help his kid with something quickly. That was actually a benefit… I happened to disconnect while we were waiting. It took me a minute to log back in, while I was logging the guild went over the fight. Slightly more complex [although, not by much] than Marrowgar, but we managed to down her on the first shot. She dropped more caster gear… maybe I should have brought my mage…

I started this post on Monday, May 3rd but couldn’t continue editing it until today due to projects one week then finals the next.

Now I don’t remember all the details of what happened in ICC that weekend. I know we made it to Festergut or Rotface and wiped a few times so we called it. Oh well, the important thing is that finals week is done and I didn’t let Warcraft distract me [too much].

I have since been to ICC a few more times and managed to get a few upgrades. I have also ran Trial of the Crusader but I didn’t get anything there, as well as Vault of Archavon [25 man] once and got two PvP pieces.


Spring break…? Not entirely.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Why assign projects to do over spring break? I thought the reason for spring break was to give us a break… guess not. Still working on finishing up my movie research paper, having more trouble finding articles I can use than I had originally anticipated. I don’t have a ton more to do, I’ll have it finished tomorrow. I’m definitely taking a break to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some friends though

I did a little bit of instance grinding with Deathengine yesterday [Tuesday] afternoon. I managed to snag a few upgrades and hit level seventy-eight, go me! Since level seventy-three I’ve been strictly instance leveling with him, time between instance pops I’m spending leveling professions & generally screwing around. Cooking & Fishing are both almost three hundred, JewelCrafting is going to be a bit harder to level since I picked up Skinning as my second major profession. I can always farm up the materials I need on Texhnolyze. I picked Skinning because it’s extremely easy to level & I can use it as my gold “farming” profession. Once I get a bit of savings, I will most likely be swapping Skinning to Enchanting.

Hrm, so I started this entry yesterday thinking I would come back to this post last night before I passed out. Didn’t happen, I was out until 2AM with my two best friends… even though I had work at 7AM. It was St. Patrick’s Day though, not a regular event.

I busted out a bit more Final Fantasy XIII the other day as well. At first I wasn’t sure what I thought about the combat system. I’m really starting to like it though, it’s a bit more of a challenge than any other combat system that has been used in Final Fantasy games. One of the things that bothers me though is if the main character [Lightning] gets Knocked Out, the game ends: you are given the choice to restart the battle or quit. Unlike other Final Fantasy games, every time you win a battle, all your character’s health is returned… this is handy.

Each character has a role it plays [Commando, Ravager, Sentinel, Synergist, Saboteur, and Medic – I will discuss these a bit later]. The combination of roles you have set for characters is called a Paradigm. You can have up to six Paradigms saved and can switch between them at any point via the menu or Paradigm Shift during combat.

There is another new feature I’m a huge fan of, Stagger. On the top right of the screen there’s a bar, and two percents displayed. The first percent is based on the damage & attacks you do to your current target, the second number is that target’s Stagger point. As you do damage, the Stagger bar fills up. When no damage is being done though, the Stagger bar drains to zero. Once the target hits the Stagger point they go in to a Stagger State for a limited amount of time & the damage you do to them goes up… a lot. From what I can tell, the damage increases the higher the you get the Stagger percent to. An example of the difference in damage would be something like this; at my current point in-game, characters are doing anywhere between 50 and 150 normal damage, once a target has been staggered I’ve hit things for almost 2500.

Role Discussion:

Commando: Uses physical damage slowing the rate of Stagger decay and does a medium-high amount of damage.

  • This Role is key for building up the Stagger bar since without a Commando, the bar empties fairly quickly.

Ravager: Uses magic based attacks [Fire, Blizzard, etc] that do a low-medium amount of damage, but does a lot of percentage to the Stagger bar.

  • Very effective in building up the Stagger bar, especially when combined with a Commando’s slowing the Stagger decay rate.
  • After the Stagger point is reached, Ravagers keep the Stagger percentage going up which increases all the damage done to the target.

Sentinel: Taunt the target into attacking them while using defensive skills to take less damage.

  • Essentially the tank, they make sure no one else in the party gets hit.
  • Sentinels don’t do any damage.

Synergist: Buff the other party members with spells like Shell, Barrier, and Brave.

  • Status Buffs for party members help them absorb damage, do more damage, and other things.
  • Synergist only Buff the party, they don’t attack.
  • I wouldn’t recommend having a character set to be a Synergist the whole fight. Swap them in when your party needs Buffs re-applied.

Saboteur: Debuff the target with spells such as Deshell and Bio.

  • Debuffs decrease a target’s armor, magic resistance, or do damage over time.
  • Other than Bio, I don’t think Saboteurs do damage.
  • I wouldn’t recommend leaving them in your party after the whole fight. Swap them back in if Debuffs need to be re-applied.

Medic: Well, this one is exactly what it sounds like… the medic. they use spells like Cure, Regen, Raise, and Esuna.

  • Keeps everyone alive!
  • If needed, raises KO’d party members.

There is a different leveling system, the Crystarium which resembles the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X. There is no experience rewarded after battle, instead you get Crystogen Points. Every character has multiple Crystarium [one for each Role] that you can distribute points into. Within the Crystarium are different abilities/spells you can unlock as well as more Strength, Health, or Magic.

I have only unlocked one of the Summons, or “Eidolons” as they are called in this game. I haven’t gotten to use it yet though, as soon as I acquired it the game shifted from Snow back to the rest of the group.

Commando, Ravager, Sentinel, Synergist, Saboteur and Medica

So much to do, so little time!

One week until Final Fantasy XIII is released. I have to say, this is the first FF that I have really looked forward to since I was disappointed by FF VIII. Even though I enjoyed IX, I didn’t look forward to it at all.

From what I have seen, I don’t believe I am going to be disappointed with XIII. The Japanese trailer for FF XIII is located here and English trailer is located here.

I have my reserve paid off for the 360, as much as I would like to get it for the PS3 [one disk instead of three]. I don’t have a PS3, nor do I have the money to get one any time soon. At least I can burn [“install”] the disks to the 360, which will improve loading time.

I don’t know what is going to happen with Mass Effect 2 once I start playing FF XIII, I have a feeling it is going to be put aside until FF is done.

I wish there was more time in the day. I have so many projects running at the same time… it’s getting difficult to juggle them all & remain productive. Studying for my two exams haven’t helped the process of being productive with anything else either. Then there is my research project… I have to watch & analyze the character interactions & communication in a movie of my choice. I chose American History X, it’s a great film, I love it. But analyzing all the character interactions isn’t exactly what I have in mind when sitting down to a movie.

As an additional note on the Authenticator post the other day. If you do not have an authenticator attached to your account, and your account gets hacked… the person who hacked your account can easily put an authenticator on as soon as they have access to your account.

This happened just yesterday to one of my brothers. His account was hacked while he was at work. Our other brother was at home & online when one of the characters on the hacked account popped online. He tried to log on to the hacked account to change the password; whoever hacked the account attached an authenticator to the account. Luckily, Blizzard has restored [or is in the process of restoring] my brother’s account back to the state it was in before his account was hacked.


Forgetful me…

Well, it figures I would forget something in my last post. That’s what I get for posting when sleep deprived… overtime and a lack of sleep will do that to a person.

I picked up Dragon Age: Origins for the 360. It’s a fairly simple game to get a hang of, that is, after you go through the process of customizing the look of your character… which could take a long while if you have OCD, like me. I figured I needed to be a little less OCD about the way my character looked after I took a good half hour making my character look just right, then deciding I didn’t like the way he looked any more about ten minutes into the game, deleted him, and remade him… with the almost the same results.

Dragon Age: OriginsI have not played all of the origin stories, but of the ones I have played I only found 2-3 that actually peeked my interest. The Human Noble and both Dwarf Noble and Dwarf Commoner. I’ve mostly played my Dwarf Noble, but it seems I’m making better progress with my Human Noble because I have more of an understanding of the talent system and game-play.

It probably didn’t help my Dwarf Noble, who is a warrior, because I was using the Auto-Assign skills to all the party members [except my main character, who I was setting up to be the tank]. So, Alistair was being auto-setup to be the tank, just like I was specifically setting my Warrior. For a while I had to keep Alistair in my group because I didn’t have enough party members, there wasn’t enough DPS to kill things quickly. Things have picked up since I got other characters to replace Alistair.

My Human Noble on the other hand, who is also a warrior, is built more for the brute damage of a two-handed weapon. I’m also assigning the points for each party member instead of using the auto-assign. I let Alistair keep his tanking role, I wanted to try something a little more DPS oriented this time around.

My Dwarf Commoner on the other hand, is a Rogue. Naturally, Alistair has to keep the tanking role. I haven’t gone nearly as far with this character as I did with the my other two characters. I just finished the origin and “starting area” with this character.

My brother and I have done quite a bit of the Spec Ops in Modern Warfare 2 over the weekend, yesterday, and today. We’re going through the whole thing on Veteran. So far, we’ve completed all of Alpha and Bravo, every mission except the last in Charlie, and the first 3 in Delta. I’ll just say, they’re lots of fun, and they  can be challenging… especially those Juggernauts. Oooh, those Juggernauts… *shudder* they’re insane on Veteran. I haven’t played Spec Ops on any easier modes, but I’d imagine they’re a bit easier to kill. I’m almost dreading the last two Ops in the Echo section. That just seems like a suicide mission to me.

We need to take a break from the Spec Ops though. We’re missing the multiplayer versus [we haven’t touched versus since we started playing the Spec Ops]. Our favorite versus modes are mainly Team Deathmatch and Ground War.


I’m a gamer, no denying.

The past month or two my computer has been out of commission. Rather than fixing my PC right away, I decided I needed to take a small step a way from games (mainly World of Warcraft) and get out with my friends more. It’s difficult since I work in the morning/early-afternoon and most of them work in the mid-afternoon/evening, but it’s a lot easier since I stopped working overnights. Even with staying up “late” to hang with friends, I’ve been getting more sleep then when I was on overnights.

I dusted off my 360 to play some games that I left untouched, since I have some free time when everyone else is working. It’s a lot easier to pull away from games that don’t require more time (WoW- raids, endless grinding to level, etc).

masseffectFinally finished up Mass Effect [the last 2-3 hours I skipped out on *sigh*], I think it had great story & excellent game play. My only concerns are the load screens/time, and some bump-mapping issues. Quite often it takes a second or more for the textures to load during scene changes [conversation sequences, doors opening, amongst others], and right after load screens. The inventory system could have use a bit of work as well… it felt a bit jumbled at times. Despite all the load screens & bump-mapping issues, Mass Effect is worth it. I plan on picking up the sequels.

I’m still not too impressed with Fable II. I don’t find the story line very interesting, there are many load screens, & if you get a lot of NPCs in one area the game bogs down and gets jumpy, there are also bump-mapping issues at times as well. What really kept me playing the game was the achievements that would add points to my gamer-score, and the fact that I could just go around murdering whole villages or saving the entire countryside on a whim. I’m not sure if I’m gonna pick up Fable 3, we’ll see though… I’m hoping for improvements.

batman_arkham_asylum_imageI’m a big Batman fan, so Batman : Arkham Asylum was a natural choice. It’s pretty good, I still need to play more of the story, I got distracted doing the challenges (specifically the Scarecrow one that was downloadable). The story, graphics, and game play are all excellent from what I’ve seen. There are Challenges given by the Riddler throughout the game that you can solve for extra achievements & game completion if you enjoy that kind of thing, I know I do. That’s probably a big reason I haven’t beaten the game yet, I spend a lot of time “treasure” hunting.

I’ve beaten Halo 3: ODST, the story line was interesting with the way they hopped between each of the squad’s stories. I was slightly disappointed in the difficulty of the Legendary mode, it seemed a lot easier than Halo 3. Since you’re not playing as Master Chief, I would think it should be more difficult without the over-shield and not being genetically enhanced.

Firefight is amazing. Although it has no random grouping functionality (like Halo 3 matchmaking). There have only been a few times I’ve actually had enough friends on at the same time to play and it be worth-while (and even then it’s only been 2… maybe 3 out of the [almost necessary] 4 possible). I would love to play it more, but in order to get far enough to make it worth while, my friends and I are going to have to make some sort of schedule for it.

borderlandsBorderlands… ah, Borderlands. Probably the best description I’ve heard about it is, “it’s like the Diablo games and the FPS had a baby.” I chose to start with Mordecai, the sniper. I’ve reached level 19 on him, it’s a lot of fun. Now my newest sniper rifle has enough power to completely blow enemies heads off, and lower level mobs can be blown to pieces with said rifle. One thing that gets me is the fact that some non-sniper weapons have a zoom scope almost as good as my sniper scope, I don’t think I need that good of a scope (or any) on a shotgun, but some I’ve seen do have absurd scopes on them.

The inventory system is alright, only 12 slots to place things when you first start, but it’s expandable… right now I’m sitting at 18 slots. The lack of space can get annoying at times, since any extra guns, shields, or first aid kits all take up space. If you want to carry a first aid kit or two to be safe, be ready to give up precious inventory space. If you get hurt bad enough, you can chose to fight for your life or respawn back at the last save spot you walked by in what is essentially a clone body… this costs money though (currently $600-ish per spawn). I should probably start carrying a first aid kit, just in case I need it, but I would rather be able to carry that one extra gun that will add to my arsenal, or my wallet if I sell it. You also start with the ability to carry a main weapon and secondary weapon, as you progress you unlock the ability to hold up to 4 weapons, all choseable by cycling through them or hitting a hotkey.

I still have a few other games to work on that didn’t impress me too much for one reason or  another: Blue Dragon (RPG, might just need to get further into the story), Assassin’s Creed (while pretty, it is very repetitive), & Grand Theft Auto IV (I’ve always taken my time with the GTAs, so this one will take a while) just to name a few.

DeathObviously I’ve since fixed my computer. And yes, I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again, but nowhere near as much. I still enjoy the game, but I know I need a break from playing it as much as I used to, so I’ve been limiting myself. When I do play, I’m hopping between my Death Knight [Deathengine] on a server with my brothers and my Mage [Stasís] on a server with some friends. I hit 70 on my DK today, and did a few of the Headless Horseman quests for the Hallow’s End event. I’m debating if I want to power level to 75 so I can complete the quest to kill Headless Horseman, the event ends next Saturday.