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Showing posts from October, 2007

Happy Halloween

Along with St. Paddy's day Halloween is one of the two festivals that we Irish (along with fellow Celtic races) can claim ownership of. It really is a very ancient Celtic festival marking the end of Summer and the night when the dead come back to visit. It long pre-dates Christianity and is still celebrated as vigorously here today as it was thousands of years ago. Indeed the early Christians realising that they couldn't stamp out the old pagan festival tried to sanitise it by making the following day "All Saints Day". Of course the nature of the celebration has changed a bit and having exported the festival to the USA we have re-imported some of the commercial American approach. Nevertheless it is a great night particularly for kids. Fireworks and bonfires light up the sky. Children dress up in costumes and visit their neighbour's collecting sweets and treats (the appellation "trick or treating" is an American import but the practice originated here).

LOTRO Housing: An island of my own

In the end Throg went with his heart rather than his head. He bought 3 Frothing Road in the Dwarf Quarter: It's not big. It's in the same place as my kin hall so I now have three ways to port to port to Thorin's hall but come on. I have my own island. How cool is that? In case you don't believe me here is a picture: Believe it or not the feisty dwarf has turned out to have a homely side and has bought some furniture for his new pad. The living room is still a bit bare: but his bedroom is very cosy: Over all I am pleased with the housing system. The hook system for placing furniture is a bit inflexible but at least there is plenty of availability. Other bloggers who have recently become LOTRO homeowners include Sean from Lost in the Grind , Khan from The Battered Shield , Tobold and Ethic from Kill Ten Rats . Humph, just about everybody has a cooler name for their gaming Blog than me!

More thoughts on LOTRO housing . A dwarf's dilemma.

I feel foolish now that it turns out I had several fundamental errors in my previous post about Lotro housing . My only excuse is that I was reading the official lotro material on housing and perhaps stacking discounts will be introduced at a later date. I had decided to opt for a small dwarf house - to be close to our kin hall and to avoid unnecessary expense. Now however, given that deluxe houses have a bigger discount and given that there doesn't seem to be a disadvantage to setting up home away from your kin hall I am not so sure. I think Throg will still opt for a small house. I'm not really a home maker and I don't think I will be getting a lot of furniture and stuff. I can always look for a deluxe house later if I feel like it and the loss of 1G that I pay for a small house won't be too painful. I am still a bit unsure about location. Although Throg is a dwarf I amn't too fond of the look of the dwarf houses. Plus I already have a free port to Thorin

A Sick Bunny

For various reasons I don't normally blog about personal stuff but I just want to mention our beautiful pet rabbit Loppy who is very sick. In fact we are pretty sure she has Myxomatosis and is dying. She has only been with us a short while but we have all fallen in love with her. I have been amazed at how friendly, curious and interactive a little rabbit can be. She is a real bundle of joy. She has been to see the vet twice in the last week and we are bringing her again today. This may be a one way journey. In the big scheme of things a sick rabbit may not seem all that big a deal but she is a member of our family and we are all devastated.

My current "Favourite Firefox Extension"

According to Sitemeter 50% of visitors to my blog are using Firefox. Who am I fooling - I probably account for half the Firefox visits myself! Nevertheless I take pleasure in sharing with you my current favourite firefox extension: Split Browser . It allows you to display your Firefox tabs in tiled mode at the click of a mouse. Here is an example: If you are familiar with Lotro you will notice that I have three of the most popular Lotro help sites open side by side in tiles all giving me info about a quest. Not that I resort to such cheating myself of course ;)

The Orange Box: Portal...Meh

I bought Valve's Orange box on Saturday, downloaded off Steam. The Orange box contains: Half Life 2 Episode 2, Portal, Team Fortress 2, Half Life 2 and Half Life 2 Episode 1 and a version of Peggle. I already have HL2 and Episode 1 but apparently I can give the new copies away as gifts, which is a nice touch. I have only played Portal so far. I finished it on Saturday, probably about five hours of gaming all in. Portal has got rave reviews and it is certainly an interesting puzzle game but personally I wouldn't hail it as as the future of gaming. It seems to me that jumping over obstacle courses in generic indoor maps with muddy brown toxic waste down below is very old school 1990s type game play even with the added twist of hyper dimensional portals. Nevertheless I enjoyed the few hours and the game is humorous enough. Judging by the rave reviews that portal got I am probably the only person on the planet who preferred Prey even though Prey had some serious faults. It may

How serious are you about game immersion?

When I play games I like to leave reality behind and lose myself in the game world. Nice graphics and realistic sound effects help me to do that. I have even experimented with 3D goggles and while the technology is too fiddly for everyday use I can vouch for the increased immersion that real 3D provides. From Slashdot (I won't link to them for fear of overloading their server) I got a link to this gadget which actually lets players experience the blows and wallops as well as the sights and sounds of the game world. I quote: Utilizing air pouches--four on front, four in back--the vest nudges and jabs gamers at eight different contact points. Now I have to say I think this is hilarious but I can just imagine that this thing could catch on. It has a certain macho cachet: "My game hits back but I can take it"!!! Personally though I think I had better brush up on my head shots before I expose my poor body to this thing. Mind you - it could add a whole new dimension t

Thoughts about Lotro Housing

NB New Information Now that housing is out in the USA I realise that some of my thoughts below are based on wrong data. According to this thread on the US forums discounts do not stack so there is no game play advantage to having a house in the same location as your kin house. Also the deluxe house gives a higher discount(20%) than either kin house (15%) or small house (10%). At high levels the discount on hefty repair bills could go some way towards mitigating the higher rent of a deluxe house. Site meter tells me that this is one of my most read posts ever - And now I realise that it has fundamental errors in it. Typical! The Chapter 11 content patch is due out this week and it will introduce player housing into Lotro. Up to now I have ignored the hullabaloo about housing but seeing as it is so close I thought I had better look into it. Almost everything I know about housing comes from here [ (official) and here (unofficial). Some questions that spring to mind: Q1. Why do

I am learning to Type!!!

Despite the fact the fact that I have dealt with computers and their keyboards every day for at least 20 years I am ashamed to admit that I never got beyond two-fingered typing. Make no mistake. I am a very fast two finger typist. I can type out a big stremq of letters like this veryt quickly. See the problem? The problem is that when I try to type quickly I make errors. Then I have to go back and correct those errors. This is an incredible waste of time. I haven't done a survey but I reckon about 50% of my time typing is actually error correction. Its funny how I was prepared to put up with this at work for so many years but what really brought it home to me was gaming and blogging. When I indulge in game chat my carefully chosen phrases come out sounding like a BsatrDizde vEsrOIn of Leet . Its hard to get respect from mature gamers when you type like that. In blogging on the other and I generally try to clean up my worst typing howlers and that takes time. Lots of time. You

MMORPGs: Whatever happened to the Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Spades?

In his seminal 1996 paper on the motivation of players in mmo type games ( "Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit Muds" ) Richard Bartle deduced that interaction between different player types meant that only certain types of game would result in a stable configuration. His four "stable" game configurations are: 1. Achiever / Killer dominated game, 2. Socialiser dominated game, 3. A carefully balanced game where all four player types have similar influence and 4. The degenerate case of a game with no players left. In the few mmo's that I have played each of Bartle's stereotypes are well catered for in the early game. Achievers get the challenge of levelling up, Explorers have new content to discover, Socialisers have the fun of setting up new guilds and the games have always had some pvp element to provide entertainment for the killers. As the games have progressed however and in particular as players have matured into end game certain Bartle

Lotro: Throg's New Trousers

What is it with trousers in Lotro? They seem to be the quite rarest form of apparel. At level 41 most of Throg's armour was still shiny and new but his aging pants were getting decidedly shabby and even the auction house could not offer suitable replacements. Consulting his notebook of petitioners asking for a champion's assistance Throg spotted that Callenthon in Nan Tornaeth was looking for someone to slay the undead horror Gurdring . Most interesting to Throg's eye were the fine pair of Explorers legging on offer to whomsoever completed this feat. Forming an impromptu fellowship with a passing Guardian Throg accomplished the deed with ease and claimed his trousers. No more will folk laugh at Throg's red spotted undershorts as they peek through holes in the seat of his pants. After dispatching Gurdring our mighty dwarf looked to see if any further loose ends needed tying up in the locality. Thanks in no small part to Thog's previous efforts the Trollshaws are far

Lotro: Spawn Camping 101

I never played the original Everquest but I have read that mobs were in short supply and spawn camping developed into an art form. Tobold has a nice description of the technique here . Now Lotro has a fair amount of "kill Ten Foozles" quests but MMORPGs and MMORPGers have moved on. For the most part mobs are in ready supply and it is better to move around hunting out your prey than to sit in one spot waiting for a re-spawn. However a couple of nights ago Throg had the opportunity to participate in a good old fashioned everquestesque spawn camp while soloing in the Misty Mountains. It happened like this: Larus Sharpshard asked for Throg's assistance in recovering 24 gold ingots lost from a dwarf strongbox ( Every Last Ingot ). At first Throg thought that grubbing around in the snow for someone else's gold was beneath him but when the feisty dwarf realised that retrieving the gold involved knocking goblins on the head he set to it with glee. A couple of ambushes later i

/gquit - Leaving Pog Mo Thoin

Is there any nice way to leave a kinship (guild)? I have realised for a few weeks that Throg would need a new kinship but I have been putting off the dreaded moment. My reasons for changing kinship are solid if selfish. Throg's original kinship is a very small group of casual players. Most of the other members are real life friends and due to differing time schedules and differing levels Throg never gets to meet any of his kinfolk, never mind go questing with them. With such a small group there isn't even much guild banter to while away the time. It not as if I don't like the other kinship members. They are actually a lovely bunch it is just that the kinship is too small. I need more if I am to continue enjoying the game. I want a Kinship with enough members to be able to find people close to my own level. I also want a kinship with an active web forum so I can chat with other members off-line. These are selfish reasons and I do feel guilty about quitting. I am the very p