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… Boo!

Okay, it only seems like it.  As you may have guessed, real life got in the way for a while there.  Pesky stuff.  To borrow from Night Court… “but I’m MUCH better NOW.”

Of course, getting back into the groove is harder than it seems.  Sadly, I haven’t even been keeping up with my usual round of blogs.  I have no idea where the conversations are now… ah, well, I’ve always been a bit off the beaten track anyway.

Random stuff, to start…

  • If you have a fascination with disasters-in-the-making, I am currently scheduled to run a roundtable at the IMGDC.  At least it’s a roundtable (I shouldn’t have to talk much, praise heaven), and on a topic I have some claim to experience with: the concept of roleplaying, and how it might apply to MMO design and development.  I’ve even got my own little picture and promo on the presenter’s page, if you can believe that.  (WARNING: my visage has been known to induce screaming fits in small children.  View with caution.)
  • I can’t remember if I’ve ever linked to this in the past, so… www.onrpg.com is a site I ran across a bit ago that links to a variety of indie, free-to-play MMOs, “engines”, and the like.  Might be of interest, in case you’re casting about for something to fill some time or offer inspiration.
  • It being election season here in the U.S. (is it ever NOT election season?), I’ve been shoehorning in a little candidate research, and ran across this WoW-related gem (titled “re: Your Brains”) on a couple of political blogs.  Not sure if it’s made the rounds on the MMO blogs yet… I thought it was quite humorous.

Well, more tomorrow.  I’ve actually had a few topics building up steam of late… I may actually have something of potential interest to pontificate on!  (That’d be a change, huh?)

Through the magic of the 4-sided die (first time I’ve rolled one of them in a while), the winners of the drawing for the IMGDC passes were determined to be Ethic and Emi.  (Apparently the letter of the day was “E”?).  Drop me a line at huberc -at- frontiernet -dot- net, and we’ll get the registration process figured out.  My apologies to those not selected… if I could, I’d spring for more.

(One more week of “crunch time”… it’ll be nice to get back to normal.)

Old news at this point, I imagine, but I weaseled my way into the latest SUWT, kinda by accident… the show is available as part of the Virgin Worlds podcast collective here (with links and show notes) and on iTunes.

Host:
Darren – Common Sense Gamer

Guests:

John – Ancient Gaming Noob
Dennis – Potshot
Michael from MMOG Nation, etc.

… and me.

Topics:

    • Introductions
    • Listener mail/What we’re playing
    • Cheater cheater, pumpkin eater
    • Predictions for 2008
    • Out of the Gate
    • We all get a hug

    Blog of the Week:
    WorldIV

    Obviously, I’ve been a bit distracted/busy/overwhelmed of late (pick whichever strikes your fancy, all apply).  I will be returning to regular posting only slowly, I’m afraid… still a bit of pressure from real life to deal with before something approximating normalcy will return.

    BTW, on an utterly unrelated note, anyone else looking forward to finding out what the monster actually is in that Cloverfield movie, coming out on the 18th?  I haven’t been much of a monster movie fan over time, but the refreshing POV on this one captivates me…

    Anyway, just a “not dead yet” note.  Type at you tomorrow…

    My 2007 list is here

    The only one I can claim unmitigated success with is #2… I hit 225 in July, actually, and maintained fairly ever since (227 this morning… but it’s the holidays).  I guess I could claim success on #1… I’m still here blogging… but I don’t really feel I’ve improved the site much.  #3 and #4…

    Well, let’s not dwell on the past. :-)

    1. Maintain the blog for another year, and hopefully improve it.

    2.  Get back into the swing on my volunteer projects.  (This one will be tough… the office is going to be a demanding place this year.)

    3.  Get something _done_ with my own Voyages project (low priority).

    4.  Go to my 25th high school reunion, which should be this year, assuming there is one.  (Could be fun…)

    5.  I will be more generous this year.  (My charitable giving was down slightly this year according to my records.  That needs to change.)

    Happy New Year, all!

    Just posting to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and so on.

    Whatever your beliefs, wherever you may be, may you have a joyous and renewing experience.

    Following the lead of Cameron and Aaron… and because it’s something I can put up quick to prove I’m not dead.  I hesitate to call this a “Top” 10 list, since a similar list I put together on a different day would probably be somewhat different… relative valuation depends upon my mood.  However, each of these represents some positive memories and definite good times, so…

    The Realm

    My first real graphical MMO, and you never forget the first.  (Still available, by the way.  A nice little diversion, if you can handle slightly dated graphics.)

    Ultima Online

    For all the issues over the years, I still find this game to be one of the most inspiring of all.

    EverQuest

    From spending a week recovering a corpse from the depths of Blackburrow, to finally working my High Elf over to Qeynos… a lot of satisfying memories of real challenges overcome.

    Shadowbane

    Some good ideas hidden behind the smack-talk rhetoric… a way to occasionally escape the tension without logging out of the game would have made it even better, tho.

    A Tale in the Desert

    This one makes my list for sheer creativity and exploration of alternative styles of play.  Yes, sometimes I do play to bake bread.

    Horizons

    An ambitious title with some good ideas and interesting setting, that in the end just couldn’t quite meet the expectations of it’s best (worst) fans… but not for lack of trying.

    City of Heroes

    A solidly fun little title, and one that has grown with time.  Maybe not real deep… but enjoyable nonetheless.  If nothing else, flitting around amongst the skyscrapers was worth the price of admission all by itself.

    Dungeons and Dragons Online

    For bringing back the magic-user/thief multiclass alone, DDO would make my list (Damiano Lives!).  Throwing in some actual dungeon crawling, as limited as it might have been… sheer bonus.

    Tabula Rasa

    It has it’s problems, but at a minimum, I will likely always remember my very first participation in a group defense to hold the Hydro Plant in Divide.  A nail-biter of a victory, blowing Linkers and Thrax back thru the gate one shotgun blast at a time… absolutely glorious.

    Pirates of the Burning Sea

    My first real sailing mission during testing, bearing down on a pirate under full sail with the wind to our aft, cannon at the ready… it’s not even released yet, and it makes my list for that one moment.

    I’ve been having a bit of trouble of late getting posts up (obviously).  It’s an odd thing, actually… I do have things I feel like writing about, but they aren’t flowing very well, or require a little research first, and therefore are taking longer to write, which then means I get interrupted by something or another and it never gets finished…

    I’ve also realized that, lately, I’ve been discarding ideas for posts because “people wouldn’t be interested”.  I’ve apparently forgotten one of the primary commandments of blogging… write as if no one is reading.  I enjoy having people stop by and comment… but I may have become so concerned about finding topics of interest that it’s made it difficult to write at all.  Not exactly a productivity-enhancing sitaution.

    Anyway… just wanted to express a little of my frustration.  I’ll figure something out… my apologies in the interim, tho.

    In response to a comment from Potshot on this post over on his blog… and because I just don’t have the oomph to do anything requiring “thought” at the moment…

    (All titles are original release versions unless otherwise noted)

    Top Shelf (MMO+recent sundries shelf)

    • EverQuest 
    • Asheron’s Call
    • Anarchy Online
    • Dark Age of Camelot
    • City of Villains
    • Auto Assault
    • Silverfall
    • Gothic 3
    • Murder on the Orient Express
    • Shadowbane: Rise of Chaos
    • Neverwinter Nights 2: Limited Edition
    • Star Wars Galaxies: Empire Divided
    • Shadowbane
    • Horizons
    • EverQuest 2
    • Lord of the Rings Online
    • Vanguard
    • Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach
    • Guild Wars
    • Lineage 2
    • Ultima Online: Charter Edition
    • World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade
    • Oblivion
    • Bioshock
    • Supreme Commander
    • Tabula Rasa
    • Hellgate: London
    • Two Worlds

    Second Shelf (CRPG shelf)

    • Baldur’s Gate
    • Baldur’s Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast
    • Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn
    • Baldur’s Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal
    • Arcanum
    • Diablo
    • Diablo II
    • King’s Quest V
    • Myst
    • Knights and Merchants
    • Temple of Elemental Evil
    • Neverwinter Nights
    • Neverwinter Nights: Kingmaker
    • Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark
    • Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide
    • Icewind Dale II
    • Freedom Force
    • Divine Divinity
    • Freedom Force: The Third Reich
    • Dungeon Siege II
    • Lords of the Realm III
    • Warcraft III
    • Dungeon Siege

    Third Shelf (RTS shelf)

    • Lords of the Realm II
    • Age of Empires
    • Age of Empires II
    • Settlers III
    • The Settlers, Fourth Edition
    • KKND (Kill, Krush, and Destroy)
    • Tzar: The Burden of the Crown
    • Myth II: Soulblighter
    • Myth II Worlds
    • Starcraft
    • Starcraft: Brood War
    • Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal
    • Warcraft II
    • Warcraft II: Battlenet Edition
    • Warcraft: Orcs and Humans

    Fourth Shelf: (sundry shelf)

    • Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate (Apple II)
    • Geopolitique 1990 (Apple II)
    • Sim City
    • Call to Power II
    • Thief II
    • Deus Ex
    • Master of Magic
    • The Shadow of Yserbius
    • The Bard’s Tale II
    • Betrayal at Krondor
    • Tales of the Unknown, Volume I (Bard’s Tale)
    • Stuart Smith’s Adventure Construction Set
    • Deathlord
    • Ultima III
    • Moebius
    • Zork Trilogy
    • Sorcerian
    • Rise of the Triad (Dark War)
    • Stonekeep
    • Gauntlet
    • No One Lives Forever
    • Populous II
    • Alien Legacy
    • Star Trail
    • Twenty Wargame Classics (SSI)

    Fifth Shelf (even more sundry shelf… half “desperation/WTH was I thinking” shelf)

    • Rogue (Epyx)
    • Money Bags (?!?)
    • Super Huey
    • Operation Combat
    • High Rollers (?!?)
    • War Eagles
    • T2: The Arcade Game (gah)
    • Populous
    • Corporate Raider
    • Inside Trader
    • Vulcan
    • The Civil War (Avalon Hill)
    • Castles
    • Ultima V
    • Ultima IV
    • The Complete Ultima VII
    • Risk
    • Might and Magic II
    • Bard’s Tale Construction Set
    • Pure Stat Baseball
    • Broadsides
    • Ultima: Martian Dreams
    • Phantasie III: Wrath of Nikademus
    • Silent Service (Microprose)
    • The 100,000 dollar pyramid (wth)
    • Buck Roger’s Matrix Cubed (omg)

    Loose CDs (boxes lost or destroyed)

    • The Realm Online 
    • Fallout/Fallout 2
    • Total Annihilation: Kingdoms
    • Risk II
    • Brain Games
    • The Crystal Key
    • probably others, but my filing system died an ugly death a long while back…

    Loose Floppy Disks (5.25/3.5)

    • Sorry, I’m just not up to that task, considering I have 3 large storage boxes of each…

    Games that I should have that presumably walked off, which I’m really irritated about…

    • Wizardry (original)
    • Might and Magic (original)
    • Robot Wars
    • Daggerfall
    • Command and Conquer

    If I stumble over anything else of note, I’ll add it later…

    And some nostalgia… these are some selected pages from the 1990-91 Origin Catalog included in the Ultima: Martian Dreams box…

     Origin 1990 Catalog Cover

    FYI: If anyone has a copy of this Bad Blood title, Apple II or IBM XT, in the box with original manual… name your price.  (Include the Elmore print, and you’re added to my Will.)

    Origin 1990 Catalog Page 2Origin 1990 Catalog Page 3

    Origin 1990 Catalog Page 4Origin 1990 Catalog Page 5

    And, just because I am right now wishing I had an operational Apple II, based on the manual for this game…

    Phantasie 3 Box FrontPhantasie 3 Cover Back

    Alright, I have a little problem, and since I can’t seem to decide, I thought I might get some opinions.

    This little screenshot probably gives you a clue of what my issue is…

    MMO insanity

    Yes, all of those are _active_… But Wait, There’s More!  I also have World of Warcraft and a few other smaller games (free-to-play, thank god) on a different box. 

    So, my MMO subscriptions at this moment in time… just the ones with a cost, mind you…

    Title Term Cost Last Played Time played
    (that month)
    City of Heroes monthly $16.04 Nov 2007 2 hours
    Tabula Rasa monthly $16.04? Nov 2007 18 hours
    EverQuest 2
    Star Wars Galaxies
    Vanguard
    monthly (Station Pass+) $30.98 Nov 2007
    Nov 2007
    Nov 2007
    6 hours
    1 hour
    2 hours
    D&D Online: Stormreach quarterly $41.85 Oct 2007 2 hours
    Lord of the Rings Online quarterly $28.75 Oct 2007 3 hours
    World of Warcraft monthly $14.99 Oct 2007 2 hours

    With the new TR subscription, that puts me over $100 per month.  For a total of some 30 hours of activity between them (and _that_ was with a holiday in there.)

    (Yes, I am a moron.  Why do you ask?)

    The issue?  I can’t decide which ones to drop.  I do enjoy them all at various times, in various moods.  TR is getting the lion’s share of attention at the moment, but I can tell that’s already tapering off.

    It seems silly to drop the Station Access.  I usually end up playing CoH more than anything else, and with Issue 11 going live, there’s new content to explore (plus I actually have a character close to Level Cap!  A first!)  I lose the special pricing on LoTRO if I drop that.  I’ve got some old friends that will be returning to DDO in the new year, and will be asking me to join them.  How can I keep track of what’s going on in WoW if I don’t play it now and then?  And so on, and so on…

    Any suggestions?  Beyond grow a spine?

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