Brackish Waters

how my gaming and life coalesce.

Ding 30 RL!

Today I hit 30 years old and I’m running down some of the new skills I have attained recently.

Passive Skills:

  • Back HairYou no longer shiver in a cold breeze, but your companions may.
  • Nose HairYou gain a +2.0 to disease resistance, failure to meet the weekly upkeep will result in a morale debuff for your group.
  • No HairYour demand for faster run speed is rewarded by an aerodynamic upgrade to your head. This effect also increases swim speed and luck when rubbed obnoxiously.
  • RoundtuitThe time needed to complete crafting actions has been increased.  A success on starting a crafting process will now be limited the closer it come to completion

Activated Skills:

  • GrandeurYou’re chance of making lots of money are still out there, you use this to jump on any opportunity of making it. This skill has a 99.986% chance of failure.
  • Glutton By summoning a previously unknown power, you are able to eat large amounts of really bad food to increase your energy. This skill replaces “Gorge” which had a 30 minute increase to your encumbrance. Glutton has a 30 year static increase to your weight and can only be removed by Jim.
  • JimYou summon an overly enthusiastic NPC that increases your endurance, vitality, and strength. This will temporarily change your appearance and lower your intellect to the point that running in place actually sounds like a good idea at 5 in the morning.
  • Housing RepairYou can now engage in regular household repair and perform small projects.  This skill is affected by Roundtuit.

Well, they are definitely not all upgrades or beneficial but I’m holding out for “Retire” and “Golden Years” which I hear to be excellent end game skills.  Seems like a grind though to get them.



June 28, 2007 Posted by | RL | 1 Comment

The One Ring to fool them all?

Over at MMO-Gamer, there is a second part of the review for Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online. This review covers the post level 25 game and goes into a lot of detail as to how Turbine does not deliver. The writer is blunt, honest and in some cases quite funny about the disappointment both he and his guild feels. However, is this truly a fair assesment of the state of the game of LotRO?

Lets just fire right off and nail his first point that he is level 50. He is in an established guild and has obviously been putting in more time than the larger portion of the player base. Turbine appealed to the crowd who were more akin to a casual style gameplay and I attribute this to the large amount of quests that remain uniform in difficulty throughout the levels. When he said this in the first paragraph, I just got the feeling he was going to be hard to appease.

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June 28, 2007 Posted by | LOTRO | Leave a comment

Global Warming and the Xbox

Games 4 Change and Microsoft are teaming up and launching a contest this summer for student game developers.

This worldwide competition, set to launch this summer to participants in more than 100 countries, will challenge college students to come up with the best game based on the theme of global warming.

I love this idea.  I have spent the last 4 days thinking about a game system for this and have yet to nail anything down.  Its such a tough subject because of the cycles of life that are involved and affected by global warming, a game could look at this from so many perspectives.

Simulators and city building games like sim city will probably makup a large portion of the entries, but I am looking forward to the really creative ones.  For some reason a caveman comes to mind, running through Detroit capping smokestacks with oversized bathtub plugs.  I wonder how accurate these games need to be in order to actually win.

I have yet to try Steer Madness but its the games with this original view that I will be trying.   I would love to say that my son will be playing games like this for homework or even for just fun.  I can just imagine him saying to me, “But Dad, Im just about to lower the air quality index to 50! Can I please stay up for just 10 more minutes?”


June 27, 2007 Posted by | Brainstorms, Industry | Leave a comment

VOIP Elite?

I think I am being spoiled by the implementation of integrated voice chat. I find myself limiting those I group with to only people who use the system. Its become a luxury I do not think I am ready to part with and will require any MMO I play to have in the future.

I pretty sure I know why I use it and prefer it over chat, but its more than just not having to type. Maybe it is the verbal freedom to vocally thrash those players in a pickup group when they perform poorly or inadvertently “Need” a drop. Maybe its the affirmation I receive when the 90 pound buxom rogue to my right is actually Lenny from the Bronx chewing down on 2 hot-dogs and washing them down with a six pack. It could just be the fact that some people respond better to commands heard rather than written.
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June 26, 2007 Posted by | LOTRO, Rants | Leave a comment

Bree-Land beauty

South of Bree, there is a small farm with this gazebo. After seeing the pictures on Cuppytalk, I felt the urge to upload this view. Its my current desktop background at home and I find it very pleasing to the eye.


I just want to take another moment to add in my system specs at the time for future reference.
MSI 915P Neo2 Platinum  Intel 915P Chipset 800MHz
Intel Pentium 4 520 2.8E
MSI Radeon X800 XL 256MB DDR3 PCIex
Kingston 2gb PC2-4200 (DDR2-533)
Maxtor 80gb SATA

June 25, 2007 Posted by | LOTRO | Leave a comment

Tempt Me

I think its safe to come into the water now.  I’ll do my best to wade through this tepid slime of lingering resentment and disappointment and deliver my hope on the future of Vanguard.

I served my time and gave the game more than its share of help.  I started Beta in March of 2006 and continued off and on until release.  The birth of my son during this period made my usual playtime much harder to keep and restricted me to solo play, a small portion of the game.

After Vanguard released, I played many characters on the Shidreth server and leveled a Psionicist to Adventuring-30, Minerologist-32.  I also spent a lot of time working with in the wiki team as a content provider.  Its sad to say that the project may never see the light of day due to lack of coordination and a drop in team members. Continue reading

June 25, 2007 Posted by | RL, Vanguard | Leave a comment

AMA creates a new disorder

As if I should be suprised really by this article, the American Medical Association is being pressured to now label video-game addiction as an actual psychiatric disorder.

A leading council of the nation’s largest doctors’ group wants to have this behavior officially classified as a psychiatric disorder, to raise awareness and enable sufferers to get insurance coverage for treatment.

As a new parent and gamer, I feel it is my responsibility to not only know what my child is playing but also how often. I monitor what videos he watches, food he eats and when he sleeps. He may not even be two years old yet, but I know that the enviroment I create for him has a direct impact on his development and future. Continue reading

June 22, 2007 Posted by | RL | Leave a comment

Beer battered chicken

Yesterday marked the first day of the Summer Festival in Middle Earth, a two week long celebration of the summer solstice. So, how does one celebrate during an event such as this? Simple. Drink plenty of beer, light off tons of fireworks and beat chickens til you are blue in the face. Mind you, not in any particular order.

I cannot say the event has been going off without a hitch as one of the main events, Hobnobigans, seems to have its share of issues. If you have never heard of Hobnobigans its pretty simple.  Gather two teams of atleast 5 players each and talk to a team captain on either side of the field north of Bree. Once you have acknowledged the rules and signed a waiver, you can take up your beater and walk onto the field. The game is a close resemblance to that of field hockey with the exception that you are beating a chicken with your stick and the goal is an open net at each teams end.
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June 22, 2007 Posted by | LOTRO | Leave a comment

Will my son go to Video Game School?

I stumbled upon this story on my drive home this evening and it really got me thinking more about what my impact will be on my child’s future.  He is still very young and only concerned about the adventures of Larry and Bob, but I can’t help but think about where he will be in 15 years and what he will be learning.

I chose to opt out of my education at my traditional high school and travel every day four towns over to an Agricultural School.  Picture your typical Tecnical/Vocational school but with cows, pigs, horses and lawnmowers.  I can’t say that it was my best decision but I learned a lot from it and I sure can groom the heck out of a cocker spaniel now.

When it comes time for my son to go to high school, I had planned on doing everything I could to encourage him to go to a tech school.  It seems somewhat foolish to not go to a school like that as you immediately come out the door with some hands-on experience and possibly a trade or skill.  Is this what the tech schools will be like in 15 years, combining programming and operating systems alongside history and sloppy joe?  Will he be coming home with projects of building character models and writing class traits?

If he does get the chance to go to a school like this, all I know is that I will be right there at the dinner table every night watching him do his homework with a smile on my face.

June 22, 2007 Posted by | RL | Leave a comment

Glowing like a Nightlight

The other night I received one the my first purple colored rares in LOTRO. Well, to be honest, my wife looted it and I convinced her to give it to my character. Hey, she’s a Guardian and I was playing my Champion and the actual drop was a two-handed mace. I tried to rationalize with her and explain the mechanics of why the Champion should be using this type of weapon and the benefits of Armor Class for Guardians, but in the end she relented because she knew I just really wanted to play with it. Never underestimate the advantage of playing with your spouse.

I mean, who wouldn’t? You are a level low level player who just picked up this massive two-hander and now possesses the ability to smite his enemies with dwarven imbued damage! I don’t know the real benefits of these named damage types yet but its Dwarven Damage!! A chance like this hasn’t emerged since Jerry picked up the brass knuckles in 3 O’clock High. Smite! Smite!

This was the 6th character I had raised past level 10 and I knew the area well. It was like a hot knife through butta, my enemies were falling at my feet and my wife was barely able to keep up. I was cackling and shouting in strange tongue to the flat-screen, she was gawking and muttering to herself. When we took a moment to loot the bodies, wipe the drool from the corner of my mouth and figure out where my frenzy had brought us on the map, when I noticed something odd about the weapon.

A strange spark of light was showing up on the spike coming out of the top of the mace. It was tiny, I mean teeny tiny. I had to zoom in and center it just right on my screen and then wait at-least a minute and a half to catch it.

“There!! Do you see it?” I was asking my wife.
” I don’t know what you are talking about, maybe you should relog honey.”

I don’t care what possessed the dev to who created this mace to put this little nightlight of a glow on it but I am still psyched about it. Its like washing a crap-box of a car, it runs better and gets better gas mileage for the next two weeks. This mace breathed new life into a character I would never have considered playing beyond 10 and I am glad I did.

I am now level 16 and still carrying the mace with me and I don’t see it leaving me anytime soon. However, somehow my wife has managed to bilk 3 other purple drops out of me with some dwarven imbued guilt trip. Never underestimate the advantage of playing with your spouse.

June 21, 2007 Posted by | LOTRO | Leave a comment