Quick update

Here’s a quick update about what I’ve been up to lately… and a bunch of Warhammer Online screenshots because… why not?

First, starting with Warhammer Online since it is probably pretty apparent that I’ve been doing a lot of that.

I finally got to my main character to tier 4 despite being distracted by several new alts. All of the various tier 4 zones I’ve visited lately have been relatively awesome – Eataine with its super bright blue skies, lush green fields and orchards, and beautiful Elven towers, Praag with it’s massive city sprawl, Reikland with its centerpiece, Reik River Observatory, keeps, and walled towns galore, and Kadrin Valley with it’s scenic snowy mountains, valleys, and epic Dwarven structures.

Checking out a cool tower in Dragonwake.
“Checking out a cool tower in Dragonwake.”

I quickly made the most of my limited schedule and put my nose back to the PVE grind stone questing in the relatively boring Elf lands once again. After gauging how much experience I was gaining and the levels of the mobs in the adjacent zones I decided I’d break away from my original plan of sticking only to my racial lands for solo PVE and ended up completing (including grinding out chapter influence!) the first zones in Empire and Dwarven lands as well long with the beginning chapters and first 3 side zones of the next set of zones. I just finished wrapping up the second chapter of Dragonwake back over in the Elven lands and am currently sitting just another short sit-down away from dinging 40 – the end is almost here and still absolutely tons of potential PVE content to go through! Perhaps the most exciting part of my character advancement, until I get to 40 at least, has been qualifying to use all of the great gear that I’ve slowly been gathering from off the auction house. That doesn’t sound that great but I’ve already maxed out my chosen mastery and don’t see any major benefit in using the leftover points in other trees and I’ve also got my tactics pretty much locked in until I get my forth slot at level 40.

I did do my first couple of Tier 4 scenarios as well, though so far which was interesting to say the least. I, of course, played the current flavor of the month scenario in tier 4, Serpent’s Passage, which is thought was pretty bizarre. It seems to be one of those scenarios where it is either absolute chaos or an utter beat down and seldom anywhere in between. I also played Thunder Valley a few times which I enjoyed. The I think my policy of waiting until I was further along in the various tiers to PVP much has been a sound one. 🙂

My Swordmaster alt posing in Nordenwatch.
“My Swordmaster alt posing in Nordenwatch.”

With the recent releases of World of Warcraft, Everquest 2, and Lord of The Rings Online expansions and Warhammer Online rapidly losing its “oooh, new, shiny game!” appeal for a lot of players we’re really seeing a lot of population drop off. Our server hasn’t suffered that badly, nor has my guild, but some have been utterly decimated. Still, my guild has it’s own problems – we’ve suffered plenty of membership attrition for a variety of reasons. With a mature focused guild like ours though they tends to be more because of various real life issues than game hopping or silly drama. This is all further hampered by the raging case of “altitus” everyone seems to have which included the establishment of a Destruction guild on a second server which has generated far more interested than I think any of us anticipated. I’m one of the few hold outs but it is pretty disappointing logging on to see no or few other guildmates online and no fun at all listening to my former allies talk smack about Order while cheerleading for Destruction on our voice server. We’ve taken some steps to help the situation out including having a serious discussing about the issue one night recently and looking seriously at joining an in-game guild alliance. Still, I sadly fear that my time in this guild may be nearing an end if things continue down their current course.

A convoy of Imperial Steam Tanks escorted by Knights of The Blazing Sun.
“A convoy of Imperial Steam Tanks escorted by Knights of The Blazing Sun.”

Speaking of those new expansions I’ve been resisting picking of Wrath of The Lich King as I don’t really feel like it offers me too much. I’m sure the 70-80 PVE content is great (if not more of the same) but the new class and other additions don’t do much for me. I’d definitely still like to check out EQ2 and return to LoTRO at some point though but neither idea seems feasible until I’m over WAR. Sadly one game that I had talked about here not too long ago including plans to return to it some day, Tabula Rasa, has announced that they’ll be closing their doors early next year. I’m pretty bummed by the news as the game had tons of potential and the development team seemed to be putting an outrageous amount of effort into updating the game post release. Respect to those on the TR live dev team and I hope they’re all able to find great jobs somewhere else if they aren’t reassigned to other NCSoft projects.

I finally managed to play my first couple of online matches of Warhammer: Battle March (Xbox 360) with my brother. They mostly consisted of me showing him how to do various things and some experimentation but it was fun none the less. I’ve instructed him to have a 15,000 point army of his choice ready to do battle for next time. I hope to get into the final chapter of the single player campaign which features Orcs and Dark Elves soon and finally get this game out of my 360 so I can move onto the next thing in my backlog. 🙂

Sightseeing in Dwarf lands.
“Sightseeing in Dwarf lands.”

Speaking of the 360 the new “NXE” dashboard update was released last week. Personally, I’m pretty happy with it. First of all, although I didn’t get to see how/if it effects matchmaking, the new party system seems like a simple, logical evolution of the old chat features. The avatars are neat – we definitely need some more customization options, especially with clothes, but I was able to make my avatar look quite a bit like me according to a couple of people who have checked it out. They don’t really add much to the experience but I’m not necessarily bothered by them either. The new friends list, which shows each of your friend’s avatars in a room, or their party in a room, and what they’re doing is pretty neat but much less useable than the old one. Of course you can still access your friends list the old way via the guild button which I assume most people would be doing while gaming anyway.

My Xbox Live facsimile. Yes, I really do have stupid sideburns.
“My Xbox Live facsimile. Yes, I really do have stupid sideburns.”

The dashboard itself is much more responsive and feels a lot less cluttered – I know some people have complained about the adds, but personally I feel having a few Xbox 360 related adds within each menu is much more tasteful and much less intrusive than having little blinking ads scattered all around the screen, blocking your wallpaper as with the old dashboard blades. Netflix streaming is great and we’ve already scoped out several shows and a movie on it since we’ve had it. The rollout itself seemed to be pretty trouble free. You always hear horror stories of freeze ups or entirely bricked systems during these things but, for the most part, it seemed to go extremely smooth. The update downloaded and installed very quickly and the whole process was quite painless for me.

About to cook some smores in Isle of The Dead.
“About to cook some smores in Isle of The Dead.”

Lastly, after the release of a couple of new game that interest me, the Castlevania and the DS version of Chrono Trigger, for instance, I’ve finally decided its time I upgrade from a GBA to a DS. Hopefully this’ll end up being a Christmas present – I’m actually pretty stoked about it. 🙂

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