• Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity
  • Far Beyond My Capacity

Friday, May 27, 2011

EQ2 progress - slowly slowly catchy monkey/barbarian/trooper/wolf (delete as appropriate)

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Things have been going pretty well since the EQ2 servers came back up following the extended downtime due to the Sony hack. First of all my fears that the long downtime and loss of personal data would lead to people leaving the game seem to have been unfounded. The guild seems busier then ever, and people have even come back to the game as they had some free days awarded.

Part of the reason may also be that after six years those who are subscribing are generally in it for the longer term anyway, and wouldn't be so put off by the hack. If it had happened shortly after the game's launch it would have been a disaster, but six years into the game's lifespan? Not so much. In fact the Antonia Bayle server at least seems busier than ever.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

iGoogle, uGoogle, SWTORGoogle

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EDIT: The iGoogle theme has been updated and added to the official iGoogle theme gallery. See here for details.

I don't know how many of you use iGoogle but I have it set as my homepage. The various gadgets and RSS feeds allow me to keep track of my emails, reading list and feeds (like the SWTOR devtracker) and still look like I'm doing work :)

Anyway, frustrated by the lack of any decent Star Wars The Old Republic themes for iGoogle I decided to go ahead and make my own.
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Late to the Party

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Apologies for the non-gaming post, but regular readers will know I occasionally get distracted by other things and this is as good a place as any to scribble down my thoughts! The reason for this post is that I have been reading Andrew Rawnsley's book about the rise and fall of New Labour; The End of the Party.

I know I'm a little late coming to the book (it was originally published in March 2010 and generated massive headlines around the world at that time), but I've found it no less interesting or relevant for not getting round to reading it until now.

Rawnsley, chief political commentator for The Observer newspaper and presenter of Channel 4's A Week in Politics, has written a weighty political book that details the behind-the-scenes conversations and actions of every major event during the time of the British New Labour Government from 2001 to 2010.

It sounds like it has the potential to be as turgid and boring as most political writings, but in reality the book reads more like one of the best political thrillers. It is the first political book I have read that is a real page turner.
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Ding! etc

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Blimey! I've dinged to 100 posts!

When I first started this blog back in the middle of September it was more just an exercise in giving me somewhere to vent my thoughts and store my roleplay stories. I never expected that anyone else might be interested in what I had to say, but over the months the readership has steadily grown to the point where I feel compelled to find stuff to write about each week. I hope you find more of it to be interesting than boring!
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Into the Noose

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I've finally gotten round to writing the next part of the story of Merecraft and Udrath's adventures in Everquest 2. It's now up in the Roleplay Stories section of the blog. This is the story that Adurj and I are writing together, taking it in turns for each chapter.

You can read it here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

SOE servers back up

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Finally the SOE game servers are back online, as announced here. Anyone with a Station Account is required to reset their password as soon as possible (and this is required before you can play).

It's good the servers are back up after two weeks downtime, and I'm looking forwards to playing some more EQ2. I won't be putting any new credit card details into Sony's servers however. By the time my current subscription ends (around October with the extra free days awarded by SOE) I'm hoping that The Old Republic will be out. If not I'll be using game cards to pay for my gaming.

It will be interesting to see how hard this will hit the server population. It was telling that Trion decided to start offering free trials for Rift during the SOE downtime, and I'm sure they will have succeeded in pulling some of Sony's customers away. The server on which I play (Antonia Bayle - feel free to say hi!) is one of the busiest, so hopefully it may avoid any future server merge, but it will take some time to see the real impact of these events on the subscriber base.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Taking the Sith

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With all the great looking Sith information and videos Bioware have been releasing for Star Wars: The Old Republic recently they are sorely testing my allegiance to the Light side!

The assault on my loyalty to the Galactic Republic continues today with a great Friday Update that focuses on the Sith Inquisitor class.
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Monday, May 09, 2011

Character Diamonds

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I've started to think about my character backgrounds for Star Wars: The Old Republic. I know most people don't bother, but I always like to draw up a background for my character and indulge in some roleplaying when the opportunity arises, even when not playing on a dedicated RP server. I guess it's a legacy of my old pen-n-paper roleplaying days.

Anyway, one of the things I always try to do with my characters is to create a character diamond.

A character diamond is a tool that allows you to easily develop deep and engaging characters, either for roleplaying or for use in fiction. I tend to use them for my RP characters and also for the main characters in my roleplay stories. They are quick and simple to draw up and very effective, so I thought I'd share my method in case anyone else out there may find it useful.
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Friday, May 06, 2011

Exploration and Codices

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The torrent of Star Wars: The Old Republic news keeps coming thick and fast this week, which is great as it has given me a lot to read whilst the EQ2 servers are still down.

The latest official Friday update is another interesting one, this time focusing on an often overlooked aspect of MMOs - exploring.

Damion Schubert, the principal lead designer on the game, has posted his thoughts on how to encourage exploration and how the developer team are approaching this in SWTOR (as an aside it's worth following his game design blog, Zen of Design, if you are interested in the theory behind MMO design).
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SWTOR PvP Info - Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age

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A lot of details have emerged about the PvP (player-vs-player) system in Star Wars: The Old Republic, following the release of a second embargo from the recent fansite convention. Fans and journalists got extended play with one of the games Warzones, and the overall feedback has been massively positive, with feedback such as "PvP in Star Wars: The Old Republic is awesome (source)", "I can’t say enough good things about the PvP experience in TOR (source)", "My PvP experience was incredibly fun! (source)", and "BioWare has set up what I perceive to be one of the most well conceived and rewarding PvP systems regardless of how you want to play your character (source)".

Too good to be true? Read on for the juicy details.
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Thursday, May 05, 2011

ME3 delayed

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Bioware have announced that Mass Effect 3 will be delayed and now release sometime in the first quarter of 2012.

Executive producer Casey Hudson said
The development team is laser focused on making sure Mass Effect 3 is the biggest, boldest and best game in the series, ensuring that it exceeds everyone’s expectations.
Personally, whilst sad I won't get to experience Commander Sheperd's final fight against the Reapers this year, I think delaying the game is the right thing to do if it means a more complete and polished product. It also means the game won't clash with the release of The Old Republic later in the year as well.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Mass Effect Redux

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The downtime afforded by the recent hacking of SOE's servers has allowed me to go back and finally complete my final playthrough of Mass Effect.

This was my first play through the game as a full Renegade, and despite it being the third time I have completed the game I was pleased to find that it continued to surprise me.

Major spoilers ahead for those who have not played the game all the way through!
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SWTOR European Game Testing Update

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An email from EA popped into my inbox today. Quite a short and simple message, but one that carried a lot of hope and excitement!
Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ will soon begin a new round of game testing in Europe.
Want to be a part of BioWare's most anticipated game ever? Sign up at swtor.com/tester.
If you haven't signed up yet and are in the EU now would be a good time to do so!

Bioware have set up a brand new dedicated server and customer service centre in Galway, specifically for the EU players of The Old Republic. The fact that they are now ready to begin testing along with the US shows that launch really is getting closer!

Great news for Star Wars day! May the Fourth be with you!

Monday, May 02, 2011

First Sony, now SOE

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First it was Sony, now SOE (a Sony subsidiary) have shut down their Station gaming network due to the recent hacking attacks.

This means that there is currently no access to Everquest 2, DC Universe Online, Fortune League, Free Realms and other multiplayer games, forums and support sites.

In a statement on their sites today SOE said:
Dear Valued SOE Customers,
We have had to take the SOE service down temporarily. In the course of our investigation into the intrusion into our systems we have discovered an issue that warrants enough concern for us to take the service down effective immediately. We will provide an update later today (Monday).
We apologize for any inconvenience and greatly appreciate your patience.
Time to check those credit cards again? Time will tell, but  for now it means I won't be playing EQ2 again until the lights come back on.

Oh well, time to catch up on my Mass Effect playthrough. It's a good job Game of Thrones is on TV tonight!

Updated!! More information after the break. Very important if you have an SOE account.
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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Portal 2 DLC announced

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Valve have announced the first DLC (downloadable content) pack for Portal 2. It will arrive in the Summer (no formal release date yet) and include brand new test chambers, leaderboards and new special challenge modes for both single and multi player.

Best of all, it will be completely free!

I absolutely loved Portal 2, so some new content will be most welcome to make the wait for Star Wars: The Old Republic a little easier.