Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A look back year in review

Last year when 2007 ended, I really didn’t have a entire year of blogging under my belt and I wasn’t sure I was going to keep writing this thing every month as it was.

Well times have changed and with the amount of free time I have at home I have the opportunity to really jump in and post some thoughts on an almost daily basis. I have watched this blog go from deep thoughts to crappy patch notes posts all the way to comic and Blu-ray reviews. One thing this blog was never meant to be was anything serious. It is an outlet of my mind and my random thoughts. It is a way for me to express anger and happiness and to rant and rave about my hobbies. If you have stuck by this blog and kept reading it over the past year and a half you will notice that my writing as well as my moods go all over the place.

One thing you will also notice, and I only mention it this last time, is that I write a lot about World of Warcraft. I have played it for 4 years now. I cannot say that it has exceeded my expectations but it is obviously doing something right. I have matched with WoW my time in Everquest 1 and that officially puts WoW forever branded in my memories and life. I try to mix it up but this blog is primarily about my adventures in that game and that, whether you may like it or not, probably won’t change anytime soon. I may have had times this year where I played other games, but I never STOPPED playing WoW except those months in the mid year when I was getting adjusted to real life issues.

So without further ado, let us take a trip back through my first FULL year of blogging.

Jan 2008

In January of 2008 I kicked the year off with a bang by having the flu. A steady trend I hope to see fail this year in 2009 as the New Year heads in. In fact my first post was January the 2nd about how sick I was. The rest of the month saw me flounder between Dungeon Runners, playing horde alts as I tried to put my alliance guild debacle of October 2007 behind me, and Pirates of the Burning Sea.

On Jan 21st, as things were kinda so so in my home life and the ex and I played fewer and fewer games together, I played EQ2 again and joined Openedge’s Simple Complexities guild on Antonia Bayle. I didn’t last too long though as the usual thing with EQ2 kicked in and I quickly became bored with it.

Feb 2008

Febuary was one of the weirdest months I had ever had. My ex-wife’s mom passed away and all my gaming pretty much came to a standstill. I noticed my blog going through a rapid alteration as I changed the name from Wife Agro to Hudson’s Hideout. The month ended with me posting some Hellgate London stories and trying to get my personal life together. At this point I honestly thought I was going to quit blogging altogether.

March 2008

Since I wasn’t gaming too much, March became a month of news stories and me re-posting some Korsun Pocket (a computer wargame) after action reports. I wanted to keep the blog running and not bore people to death but I think I still bored people to death. At any rate the blog kept going and the only really big news was that Hellgate: London had post office boxes added to the game.

I was still secretly playing WoW but only very casually and as a Horde Blood Elf rogue in the middle of no where and with no friends or company. I managed to solo him to 46 before I quit for the next few months.

April 2008

Here is where everything hit the fan. This month saw me make my lowest post total in about a year, coming in at a whopping 8 posts for the ENTIRE month. Tabula Rasa had a free return deal and the writing was on the wall for that game. I think that Garriott mentioned something about going into space as well but I am not sure. We all learned that Ian McKellen will play Gandalf in the upcoming Hobbit movie.

May 2008

The first rumors of Diablo 3 popped up on Blizzplanet. Blizzcon was announced, and Josh Drescher (EA Mythic designer) announced that Warhammer Online had 5 years of content at launch. He probably meant you could run the same scenarios over and over for 5 years and cap out eventually. Who knows. I made a post that Wrath of the Lich King would make the game of WoW easier because Blizzard would listen to its player base, and turns out I was right. Funcom banned a bunch of exploiters in Age of Conan.

June 2008

The end of June saw Diablo 3 get announced for REALZ, and most of my month was spent trying out Lord of the Rings Online as well as still messing around in World of Warcraft with that rogue. I was still in the Warhammer Online beta, but June was one of the best months as they released a ton of cool PVE content. Sadly this zeal did not last more than a month into the games official release. Hellgate: London started to really get slammed in the press as a nasty forum leak came out about the inner workings of Flagship Stuidos. The writing on the wall was there for that game as well. The company later tried to deny everything which in fact turned out to be true.

July 2008

July I started to get REALLY bored. I was only playing the WAR beta, I had cancelled WoW, and I was in Age of Conan for what amounted to 3 miserable weeks of one of the worst MMO’s I had ever played. I busted out my XBOX 360 and dipped my feet back into console gaming. At this time I was sold that Warhammer Online would be my next MMO based on the beta. Looking back I was an idiot. Oh well. At least I got some cool XBOX games. I had already cancelled LOTRO as well due to sheer boredom. Noticing a trend here? If I was not playing WoW I could not stay in an MMO. Maybe the WAR beta was so much fun because it was free? That always helps. I was pretty mad in July at the state of online superhero games it seems.

August 2008

On August the 19th the WAR NDA was lifted and the freaking BLOG-O-SPHERE BLEW UP! I started posting all of my many many beta diary posts I had saved up and was having a grand old time. As the open beta approached I logged into WAR less and less and they forced us to test more PVP (err RVR) content and I should have noticed there my interest was starting to fade.  I managed to post some awesome PQ videos and things about the PVE aspect of WAR, but much like today no one cared. DANGER DANGER! I had Madden 2009 and played it about 3 times, Casualties of WAR was ramping up their recruitment and the upcoming launch started to get a lot of press time. So that takes us into those fateful days of:

September 2008

WAR launched and at first I was having a blast. The PVE areas were chock full of people and the idea of running scenarios over and over and over and over and over and over with about 90% of the population of the game never got old. I fought off attacks from bloggers that apparently could not take the time to try new games (I later apologized for that), I got into a fight with one blogger that instituted a communist regime, and I ripped Age of Conan for server merges and larger boobies in game. Gold spamming was the issue of the day in Warhammer. Being a blogger that talked about the new game was a constant battle of the “Bartles v.s. the Jacobs” as I like to call that great war. I am a veteran, I wear my badge with honor.

Of course looking back now it was all really quite dumb. HOWEVER I didn’t get into the war of the BLOG O SPHERE as much as others and generally kept a low profile. I got an awesome mention on the Channel Massive podcast though but my readership didn’t go up much. By the middle of the month I was reading comics more than I was logging into Warhammer and for some reason the “need to log in” addiction was just not there for me in Mythic’s new toy. I wasn’t sure what was going on but the game felt like a beta still and I was not feeling the love. My eyes turned toward Northrend…

October 2008

As the Halloween month rolled around, something started to happen in Warhammer Online. The PVE content  and social aspect of the game dried up, bugs started to creep out of their little lairs, play balance was questioned, and no one was found roaming the countryside. WAR was not everywhere and neither was the community. No grouping PVE wise was to be had, the low level areas were already ghost towns, and I started to see a chink in the armor of what I liked to call “pre launch” fun. By October 17th my mind was already wandering OFF WAR and heading to thoughts of other games that were more polished and had an established player base. I posted a poll that asked the readers to pick what I played. Most votes were to have me keep playing Warhammer Online and save money, but since the entire goal of the poll was to pick me a second game I threw out that result and picked the runner up with 23% of the votes: World of Warcraft. Of course everyone knew I was going to go back anyway, but that just cinched it. As October ended I was once again enamored with WoW and Warhammer Online was already a faded memory of failed potential. Enter:

November 2008

The Lich King was coming. Even after all the hate I had thrown at WoW (mainly in denial that it was my bitch), I was back and addicted again. November saw me dive head on into playing the Horde as I took advantage of the Refer A Friend program and leveled up the three classes I wanted to play the most: a warrior, a priest and a shaman. By the end of the month I had 3 level 60’s and had to pick which one I wanted to take to level 80 and be my main. By the time all was said and done I had spent hours playing my priest and never once logged in the shaman or the warrior and my path was set. Lich King launched and there was much rejoicing. I spent my Thanksgiving sick with a cold and took some time off to experience all the new stuff the expansion offered. I played a little Wizard 101 but my effort to level the WoW characters won out and I didn’t return to that game as much as I should have. Tabula Rasa announced it was shutting down and I added Hicks to the blog as a co-writer.

December 2008

So here we are! On December the 9th, Illinois sent another Governor to jail. Gov. Rod Blagojevich sought kickbacks as he considered a replacement for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by president-elect Obama. Much chaos ensued.

As far as the blog was concerned, not much changed really. The name of the site, the look, and the URL got an overhaul. I am still playing WoW, but not EQ2. When I started blogging back in June of 2007 I was playing EQ2 a lot, but only because I felt that my time in WoW was not worthwhile if I was not raiding or doing something UBER constantly. As EQ2 started to really drag on and the ex-wife and I came back to WoW things picked up for a while but I never had as much fun as I am now with my new guild. Things in game are exciting once more and the action is frequent and furious. All that time I put in with the refer a friend thing? Well I ended up ignoring those toons and heading back to the alliance side of things to my oldest character.

In late December I decided, for the LAST time, to start a guild and try to capture the feeling I had in 2004-2006. By the end of the month we were doing crazy things like 10 manning Onyxia and running Zul Gurub to show newer players what the old days were like. We have server transfers, rerollers, older players and even brand spanking new players to the game that started at Christmas.

The condo has sold and I am soon going to have to move. The new year will bring a new address, new internet access, new train routes and a whole slew of changes in my life. My game time may slip a bit, but I know that the stories will give great blog entries.

RMT started to get introduced in mid December as companies looked at their books and tried to think up new ways of tapping the MMO market. With Sony releasing some things into EQ1/EQ2 we soon saw rumors that the next Star Wars MMO would feature this as well.

Predictions? I usually stink at this but I have some:

Spellborn and Darkfall will flop hard. These games can barely get released in the North American market let alone hold a substantial playerbase. One of them will go free to play.

I think RMT will now make us pay more for our games and the sad thing is we won’t notice it until we do the math.

Some sort of drama will ensue at WoW Radio and yet another podcast will get cancelled and someone will leave the station…AGAIN.

On the fence bloggers will continue to avoid actually slamming MMO’s that are failing attempting to remain neutral to avoid ruffling feathers (and losing readers).

I will continue to be ripped for playing WoW. Apparently if you play a game that can actually hold subscribers and function with a working client you are a moron.

I will catch flack for running a guild that appears to be successful (where 80% of my members are garnered from World of Warcraft gaming sites). I know what players want, how to give it to them and what makes a happy community. I consider myself the Bill Parcels of World of Wacraft. You can talk junk about me all you want behind my back. By the way WoW is my domain and my MMO so I think I know what works and what doesn’t. It’s a video game, relax.

I think that Sony will close Matrix Online and Pirates of the Burning Sea will sail off into the sunset.

I will post something that causes me to lose even more readers because I speak (err blog) my mind.

Tobold will gain a free beta invite to SOMETHING and then get some sort of kick back for mentioning it on his blog.

Miley Cyrus will do something to totally ruin her image.

Daniel Craig’s movie Defiance will kick a lot of ass. Speaking of Craig, Peter Travers has backed me up on my dislike of Quantum of Solace. Thanks!

The phrase “EQ2 blah blah blah” will be uttered once more on the ”Shut Up We’re Talking” podcast.

Age of Conan will shut down and we won’t see any major releases in 2009.

The phrase “Triple AAA MMO” will thankfully die. Why? Because there are not that many and there never will be. I can count three. Two of them have been around for more than 4 years. I will let you guess my third choice.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

End of year update before it goes away

Ok I am back after a long Christmas and ready to put some love into my blog once more. First off hope everyone had a good holiday and got what they wanted, if not then I am sorry. I myself did pretty well as far as Blu-rays went.

I scored the Matrix Ultimate Collection on Blu-ray from my better half, then also got a Best Buy gift certificate which I used to by the 2 disc collectors edition of The Mist on Blu-ray. I also got as a gift Reign of Fire. All movies that I watch a good amount and love to have added to my collection. As everyone knows I am moving soon (Jan. 5th) so with 30 dollars in Target gift cards got a powerfull little Dust Devil upright vacuum cleaner. I also got a slew of Dunkin Donuts coffee and gift cards as well to help me function on a daily basis.

I still have some birthday gifts wrapped up and waiting for me so who knows what goodies are under the tree still.

I have been super busy in game getting the guild, named Aftermath, up and running. We are now pretty consistent with about 10-13 on per night, even over the holidays, and still recruiting. Recruiting in game is hard and so far we have captured maybe 3 worthy applicants. Otherwise all my work has been done on forums that cater to various MMO’s. We have some really great level 80’s that are working on helping out the rerollers and lower levels. We are even doing crazy things like 6 manning Onyxia and crushing instances in single pulls for those people that need them.

My warrior has hit level 72, not much but still a good start before I am out for moving and super busy. I want to at least get him equal to my horde priest at level 73 so that I feel the switch to alliance is really complete. One thing I am noticing is that there is almost NOTHING for prot warriors in the quest rewards department. It seems that Blizzard is really steering people toward DPS specs and encouraging those that want to tank and work hard at it to really suck in 5 mans. I am still living off my Kara gear and everything I earned before Lich King but have replaced my main weapon and my shield. Other than that I have tucked away a nice set of DPS stuff should I ever decide not to be a real warrior and do my job. Sorry, I had to get that in there.

Other than that, not much going on. I have been neglecting the blog because really I do not have too much to talk about. Just the new guild (still looking for players so email me if interested), moving and presents.

The Bears mercifully missed the playoffs this year. Thank god because I didn’t want to hear or deal with another week of them in the news for any reason whatsoever. On the flipside, my Broncos pulled the ultimate choke and became one of the only teams ever to lead a division all year then lose that same division and a playoff spot on the last day. I can always look at the bright side though and be happy they are not the Detroit Lions who went 0-16, the first time a team has done that in NFL history. Really guys? You couldn’t even beat the Bears? Pathetic.

I am still holding my year end review post until the last possible day of the year, so ummm…Wednesday. Other sites have already put theirs up and blown their wads. Not me, I want to really wait until the last minute to get those 10 readers of mine caught up on one of the crappiest years I have had in a while. Can’t wait!

Until then, more World of Warcraft and more work on the new guild.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Warhammer Fantasy Miniatures

Love the selection of Warhammer Fantasy miniatures over on the Games Workshop site.

For example the class I will be playing when the MMO goes live.

You will notice he comes in two spicy varieties. One with a great weapon and one with a one hander and a shield. Either are great sculpts.

“The Cult of Sigmar demands that its followers must fight all forms of evil with strength of arm and sword as well as faith, and many of its priests accompany the Empire’s armies as they march to war. In this role they not only lead and inspire troops in battle, but also minister to their spiritual well-being.”

The High Elves of course are well represented in terms of sculpts as well. You can’t go wrong with the Swordmaster figurines and the look of them when fully painted. Any readers here have an army they play? I haven’t played in a while but I really want to get back into the hobby.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Why Iron Man's suit would not work

Pretty cool article over on Wired.Com about why Iron Man's suit could not yet be a reality. Of course we all know he is a comic book hero, but still it is a good read to see how far away we are from this type of technology.
One of the interesting paragraphs was about his repulsor rays.

"Even assuming that Iron Man can convert any stored energy in his suit into laser light with 100 percent efficiency, then to generate a beam powerful enough to melt a fist-size hole through a half-inch thick steel plate (which any comic book fan can tell you is well within Shellhead's capabilities) would require an energy pulse of more than 2 gigawatts of power, greater than the output of a nuclear power plant"

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Massive list of Panzer Command: Kharkov improvements

Matrix Games has a nice little post on their forums detailing exactly what Panzer Command: Kharkov will update over the first game, Panzer Command: Winter Storm.

Here are some of the details, but if you are a wargamer head over to the Matrix Games forums and check out the rest of the details.

What’s New in Panzer Command: Kharkov!

• New Scenarios and Campaigns
o German Kharkov, May 1942, 14th Panzer Division, (8 Battles)
o Soviet Kharkov, May 1942, 169th Rifle Divison, (8 Battles)
o German Mcensk, October 1941, 4th Panzer Division, (4 Battles)
o German Kursk North, July 1943, (3 Battles)
o Boot Camp Tutorial (6 Battles)
o Plus additional individual battles and updated Winter Storm campaigns for Winter Storm owners (48 scenarios total if you own Winter Storm)

• Updated Manual
o Includes all the new rules and comprehensive tables on game modifiers and effects as well as detailed editor documentation and a full historical background of the Kharkov and Mcensk campaigns
o Separate tutorial guide

• New Random Battle Generator o Create new battles from 1941 through 1945 on the Eastern Front, choosing from a variety of map and force templates as well as battle options for each side. The resulting battles are virtually infinite in their variety, while maintaining realistic setups and force composition thanks to the predesigned templates (which are also customizable).

• New Random Campaign Generator
o Choose a time period, a number of missions and a core force and progress through a series of randomly generated linked battles
o Also supports semi-historical and historical campaigns o Includes support for unit equipment upgrades for longer campaigns
o Design and share your own Random or semi-Random campaigns

• New Spring and Summer Maps
o A variety of new maps that are both historically accurate for the Kharkov campaign also combine to give a representative variety of Eastern Front terrain.

• Trenches and Foxholes
o New trenches and foxholes provide more cover for infantry against enemy fire and make them harder to spot
o New gun pits provide covered firing positions for field guns and vehicles

• Minefields
o Anti-personnel and Anti-Tank minefields are now supported for all scenarios.
o Density and area can be defined and minefields can overlap.

o Minefields are initially visible only to friendly forces and must be discovered by the enemy

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Warhammer 40K: Building the Eldar army 1

Ok so I reported how I was getting back into Warhammer 40k and today I decided to build my HQ character and my Dire Avengers. The Dire Avengers came in two box sets, each one contained a Wave Serpent.

I thought that knocking out 10 plastic miniatures would be easy, but how wrong I was.

First the HQ unit was a big pain in the ass. All metal of course and I plan on using him with Swooping Hawk wings so I knew those would be a pain to attach. The actual model, all painted, looks like this on the GW site. I am going to give him a Reaper Launcher though to give my noobie army sone long range anti-armor punch.

So I started assembling the HQ unit and then moved on to the Dire Avenger squads. Each Dire Avenger required removing the plastic flash from the plastic first off. Flash is the molding stuck on the model after you take it off the sprue. I had to start by attaching the legs to the base first, and then had to "base" the model after that. Basing is where you add fake gravel to the stand to make it look like the model is walking on land or terrain.

That took a while since I had to wait for everything to dry. Little did I know that the Dire Avenger torsos were in two parts and had to be glued together so I started on that next. Then I had to attach the waist sash to each of the leg units to finish the lower part of the models. Between the basing and the gluing of the torsos and adding the sashes the entire project took at least 2 hours. I had forgotten how much time it took to make an army look good and I hadn't even started painting anything yet. I am going to let that dry over night and then get back to it later next week depending on my work schedule. It is hard to not just toss these models together, but one of the pacts I made to myself on coming back to the hobby is that the army would be PAINTED and properly table ready when I decided to play a real game.

Next blog entry I will point out exactly what my army will consist of with Army Builder 3.0.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

GenCon regroups after Chapter 11

Some of you may or may not have heard that GenCon, usually regarded as the best and largest gaming convention in the world, filed for Chapter 11 a few days ago. As stated on the GenCon website:“The protections afforded by Chapter 11 will allow Gen Con to further its efforts to address its liquidity needs, preserve value for its creditors and explore strategic alternatives for the business.”I have many fond memories of GenCon Indianapolis.
I have been going there since 1995. I have seen it move from Milwaukee to Indy and watch it get bigger and bigger every year. I usually get to see the newest video games (last year it was Warhammer Online, which got me into the beta) and play some great RPG’s and boardgames with gamers from all over the world. In my photo section here on GAX I have put up some GenCon photos from years past, and I will add some more later. In the photos you can see people playing Warhammer Online, Wrath of the Liche King and other games coming out this year. I was a little shocked by this news, as I thought they had cut back on Con locations to save money and consolidate, but I guess it was not enough.

This year due to personal reasons I will not be able to attend, breaking a Brett Favre like 12 year streak for me. Since I cannot go, I may go to Gamesday or possibly even Wizardworld Con here in the Chicago area.