Lackluster Zone – Enedwaith

With Teese finally capped at 65 I have been working on the two end zones of Lord of the Rings Online.  The first, Mirkwood, is as the name implies, mirky.  It is an annoying zone as it is constantly shrouded in darkness.  A stylistic choice I may not like but at least the zone itself appears solid.

Enedwaith, on the other hand, is absolutely gorgeous.  Rolling hills, steppes, great ambiant sounds and best of all, not dark! Once I found this zone I dropped Mirkwood like a hot ‘tater and starting cranking out the quests.

However as of late the zone has been grating on me.  Not because of the stylistic choices that Turbine made but because the zone feels poorly constructed.  The quests are all there, the hubs nicely laid out and the story lines are interesting.  But the mobs look like they were placed on a grid.  They’re all evenly spaced.  No chance of a multi-pull and they’re far enough apart that I can run from one end of the zone to the other and with minimal juking never aggro anything.  The front third of the zone might not have it but in the plains it is easy to see.

Secondly, since one of my toons is a woodworker I primarily track and collect wood.  The mallorn scattered throughout the zone is poorly placed.  At least a tenth of them are floating above the ground.  I’ve seen one where there was only the barest hint showing above ground.

I really do prefer Enedwaith’s atmosphere.  But the feeling that it was rushed, that the spawn of mobs and resources, was laid out with a simple algorithm breaks my immersion and really dampens any enthusiasm I have for the zone.  Hopefully Turbine will make adjustments to make the zone feel more organic.

Future of Video Gaming… Please No!

As a life long gamer I have constantly been in the out group.  Heck, pick a letter in my blog’s title, they all represent out groups.  Even my preferred pet, ferrets, places me in the out group.  But you know what, I’ve really, truly been ok with that.  People have different views on things, different likes and dislike.  Any time people have really tried to insult me based on any of the out groups I am a part of I recognize it for what it is.  An expression of their ignorance and incomprehension as to what they believe my views and opinions are.

But then there was this video which is reportedly a leaked internal video of where Microsoft wants to take PC Gaming.

I found it disturbing.  Why?  Because while I can understand and deal with people who oppose me and are trying to insult me I am just left stunned that anyone could be so wildly off the mark in what is, ostensibly, a video in which they show how they want to gain my business.

Really, Microsoft?  Really?  References to FarmVille, trying to tie it together with the abysmal avatar system you have on XBL and with a heavy smattering of spend, spend, spend sprinkled throughout?  This is the best you can do for a platform which, not 2 days ago, AMD described as stifled by console gaming?

Let’s be brutally honest.  If this is your forward looking vision you have missed the boat by years.  If people want to play Farmville they will do so now, across multiple platforms and browsers.  That ship has already sailed.  If people want to tinker with the avatar system on XBL, they’d have an XB360 and be doing so now.  You’ve got that market already.  PC Gamers are PC Gamers precisely because they aren’t Farmville playing, XBL Avatar twiddling people.

I am a PC Gamer.  I play PC games because they have far more depth than the casual offerings on Facebook and the stifling consoles.  I play PC games because it is in the PC where true long-term, large scale communities can thrive in a way that simply cannot happen on consoles nor in the small scale of casual gaming.  I am not dismissing those as viable and valuable venues into which gaming has expanded.  I just find it offensive that you feel that the unique flavor, the strengths, of PC Gaming should be so utterly ignored while somehow trying to promote that niche of Gaming.

If this is truly what you wish, please, do PC Gamers a favor and just give up on the platform.  Go play with the XB360 and leave the PC to people who have the passion to push the platform to the heights it deserves.  Heights well above anything you have apparently thought to imagine.

Secular Rituals

I’m a tad backlogged on my Non-Prophets and Godless.biz podcasts.  As such I have only just now gotten to Non-Prophets 10.2.  In it there was a discussion about secular rituals.  Specifically about replacing religious ones and the difficulties of doing so without a central authority.  Now, ignoring the plethora of national holidays and the rituals they present (fireworks on the 4th, nuff said) I could think of one secular ritual in which I participate.  A ritual I am willing to bet a good portion of Atheists in America participate.

House warming.

I’ve thrown several and have attended several.  Nary a religious notion in site.  Just groups of people gathering to celebrate obtaining a home and/or welcoming a new neighbor to the area.