PS3 love

Way back in the day, I was a Sega per­son. Like every­one else at my col­lege, I had a Gen­e­sis (Jen­ny), but I fol­lowed Sega into the Sat­urn (good sys­tem, far too expen­sive, some mem­o­rable games), and the Dream­cast (out­stand­ing sys­tem, some fan­tas­tic games). Then Sega came to an end due to their own pric­ing, strange mar­ket­ing, and lack of third-par­ty sup­port… oh, and the relent­less PS/PS2 jug­ger­naut. After­wards, I had to find some­thing else. On a week­end where my wife (girl­friend at the time) antic­i­pat­ed us being snowed in and unable to escape from vis­it­ing her par­ents house, we picked up a PS2. It was Sony who killed Sega, but the whole “love the one who defeats you” vibe is strong here.

Con­tin­ue read­ing PS3 love

The lure of large-group raiding

My casual/raiding guild is start­ing to build up to 25-man con­tent. They’re raid­ing with a bunch of ex-guildies who have drift­ed through a hand­ful of oth­er guilds before run­ning out of options and try­ing to start their own. This splin­ter guild does­n’t have enough peo­ple to raid even Kara, nev­er mind their goal of begin­ning 25-man con­tent, so they pro­posed an alliance to start the 25-man track.

There’s enthu­si­asm in my guild. New con­tent! For many peo­ple in the guild, this will be their first big raid ever. For oth­ers, this would be a way to relive the glo­ry days (cough) of Molten Core/Onyxia. The 25-man track is the big boy raid track! Whee!

There are a few prob­lems, though.

Con­tin­ue read­ing The lure of large-group raiding

Minipets are joy

I have to admit that my most cov­et­ed drop that I want from Mag­is­ter’s Ter­race is the phoenix minipet. Minipets are prob­a­bly the sil­li­est thing in World of War­craft. A non-com­bat pet. Win­dow dressing.

For my wife, I think minipets are about 20% of why she plays the entire game. When I passed on the rumor of minipet bags, she was thrilled. She is that per­son who has 20 minipets, in her inven­to­ry. Chick­ens, robots, ele­phants, glow­ing balls of light, bugs, old chew­ing gum, and a ball of string. I have a mere dozen. Only four on my inven­to­ry at a time (less on my bag­space-starved war­rior, he only gets three) Our love of minipets is strong, and it turns out that we are not alone.

The best minipets have a noise you hear when you click on it. Like with Willy, you get a groan. Mechan­i­cal chick­en, you get a robot­ic cluck­ing noise. And so on. It’s some­thing fun you can do if you’re on a raid and the raid leader has to explain an encounter you know to the new person.

Come to think of it, the baby pan­da is par­tial­ly what sold my wife on the game in the first place. You have these majes­tic, impos­ing char­ac­ters, with huge shoul­der armor and glow­ing effects and fear­some weapons and so on. And then you have a hum­ble prairie chick­en peck­ing the ground next to you. There’s some­thing about that pair­ing that’s just per­fect. Before we got her a com­put­er of her own (and a game client of her own), my wife and I would play togeth­er, with her rid­ing shot­gun. We chat­ted up some­one in Iron­forge who had a baby pan­da. “That’s so cool!” “Yeah, but he does­n’t real­ly do much.” And at that moment, the baby pan­da took a nap, lay­ing down with the green zzz over its head. We laughed for a sol­id ten min­utes. That was the beginning.

Minipets fac­tor into our guild’s raid strat­e­gy as well. When we encounter dif­fi­cul­ty on a new boss, the wipes can get tedious. Some­one always sug­gests dif­fer­ent minipets, and every­one in the raid says “Ah yes. Minipets.” A dif­fer­ent con­tin­gent of (use­less) minipets will cer­tain­ly make this attempt much eas­i­er. Like I said, we’re casual/raiding, and we should prob­a­bly be talk­ing more about what­ev­er’s killing us, but how can you turn down a guar­an­teed smile and laugh before rush­ing in to die again?

You can’t. It’s just one of the sil­ly parts of WoW that make it fun.

Game Riding Shotgun

What hap­pens when you’ve got two gamers (me and my wife) who can’t play a game togeth­er, but you both want to play? Some­one rides shot­gun. This can be due to the game being sin­gle-play­er, or more recent­ly, due to the need for some­one to hold an infant.

The per­son who rides shot­gun does­n’t have to focus on con­trols or the repet­i­tive tasks that take up a lot of time on gam­ing. They focus on the big pic­ture, missed details, and so on. If the game is some­thing you’re both inter­est­ed in, you com­bine to become some­thing of a super­play­er. For exam­ple, I can’t spot those hid­den flags in Assas­s­in’s Creed for the life of me, but she’ll pick out one that’s under a pile of hay, which is itself under a tarp… three miles away, through dense fog, around the cor­ner. She spots the tiny cor­ner of that flag, and we get clos­er to com­plet­ing the game. In Pix­eljunk Mon­sters, I point out that she tends to stand next to mobs, wait­ing for them to die, when she could be three steps away, upgrad­ing a tow­er while she wait­ed. And we get clos­er to get­ting a rain­bow on that lev­el. (Yes, you can play PJM with two players–and we often do–but when I get home from work and she’s play­ing, I don’t say, “Drop that and let’s play togeth­er.” I fix myself a drink.)

Con­tin­ue read­ing Game Rid­ing Shotgun