Brackish Waters

how my gaming and life coalesce.

Keeping it real

Brenden over at Another Here has a new article up about podfading and how it upsets him to see any podcast or blog drop off in activity and die out.  What I found really interesting was Brent’s comment about Tobold, a veteran to the blog community.

Everyone knows their work, but do you feel like you know Tobold? Even after 1000 posts, he is still a disembodied (silent)voice in the blogosphere and readers have no idea of what he is all about, as a person. If he started podcasting, that would change overnight.

I’ve only been reading Tobold’s blog for about 6 months and while I understand his point of views on a lot of things and find him to be a really great writer and full of opinion, I really don’t know him.  Should I expect more?

While I have been somewhat open about myself here and some of my personal life, I really haven’t divulged much.  “About Me” pages sometimes have a bit about the person and why they have this section of the Internet reserved for themselves but more often then not they are just a spot for people to lay out the justification for the site and a quick reference about what people can expect if they decide to come back.

I think the reason I haven’t dropped a post about myself is because I think it would possibly do more harm than good.  Maybe by taking a moment here to write down some of the key points that I believe are a real part of me, those that visit here may find some affinity to my musings and also my goals.

Feel free to jump ahead to the disgusting quote of the month.

I’m not a developer or a code monkey.  I don’t have a job in the industry or in a field even remotely connected to gaming.  At times I wish I did but I think I like my life at the moment.  I play games almost every night and waste atleast 2 hours a day at work reading and writing about them.  On top of that, I’m being considered for a promotion this month and that is the only thing that has kept me from posting/reading as much as I would like.  Its like a scene from Office Space with the exception that the fax machine loves me and I’m in the process courting the rest of theTyler Durden terminals at the company.  One can do a lot with an overabundance of printers and outdated scanners, if one was so inclined.

I admire a lot of people but the person that stands out as of late is J.K.Rowling. Anyone who can encourage that many children to read is an inspiration to me.  I would love to be able to create something as powerful as that someday but I think my lack of education may hamper that prospect.  I only did small stints in college and graduated from a high school that had a larger ratio of animals to students.

I left school after I met my wife and the two of us decided to move to a more “rural” location in Maine.  We didn’t get as far into the woods as I had originally intended us to go because there are just some things I can not live without, Internet being one of them.  I’m lucky enough that I pay for a house (banks like deeds) that isn’t sucking the life out of me every month and somehow manages to keep me warm and dry.  I’m still hoping that some old loon back in the 1900’s left a cash box in the wall or floors but I don’t have the energy to look for it.

Random Stuff:

  • I hate having to feed my body every night but I love eating good food.  We have the longer lasting lightbulb, can we work on the longer lasting sirloin now?
  • I like small cars but I hate maintaining anything about the automobile.
  • I hate flying but I see no way getting around this as I plan on going to my first game conference in 2008, still have no clue which one.
  • I only look at the pictures in manuals.
  • I haven’t read as many books as I should have yet I live within a half a mile of a library and my bus stop in high school was the first library in the nation.  Go figure.
  • I’m a good father but would make a really bad godfather. (not like the movie)
  • I found religion once.  I was told it wasn’t a real religion so now I’m lost again I guess.
  • I love playing board games but I am the worst loser ever.
  • I spend, at a minimum, 1 hour every night lying in bed before I fall asleep.
  • I roll my own cigarettes and continue to smoke even though I know its bad for me.
  • I don’t like being drunk but I love Baileys in coffee or hot chocolate on a winter morning.
  • If I won anything more than$50,000 dollars I would leave my job tomorrow.
  • If I won anything less than $50,000 dollars I would have a kick ass contest on this blog.
  • …. and I would subscribe to VirginWorlds.
  • If I won a dollar, I would by a Twix and eat them both.
  • If I could play any game right now it would probably be Call of Duty 4.  I need a better video card apparently.  (Damn you Shader 3.0!)

And now for this month’s Disgusting Quote:
“Well when I get to Hell I’m going to miggs the Devil.”
“No way man, you’d end up in the Pit of Miggs’n!”

I told you it was disgusting.
I love my office.

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November 28, 2007 Posted by | Blog-o-sphere, RL | 13 Comments

Working it

WorkI’ve been spending the last week and a half preparing for a change of position at my current job and I have to say, it’s taking more of my time than I imagined.  If you liked the video review I did with TR you can imagine the job tutorials I’m currently writing.  I like to keep things clean and easy to understand and I’m not someone who is overly wordy about things as you can probably tell by the general length of most of my posts here.  I’m always one for polish and I tend to do more than is needed at times but I can’t argue with the outcome.

I want to thank those of you who have stopped by over the last couple of weeks because it definitely kept me going and I apologize for not posting more.  I’m spending most of my free time either reading while at work or playing EQ2 and TR when I’m at home.  I really wanted to get Rise of Kunark, but because I decided to get TR when it released my extracurricular funds are a bit low now.

To be honest I have been kind of disheartened over the past week with EQ2 as the areas we have been playing in have been less than stellar in terms of reward for the time invested.  We basically finished both Obelisk of Lost Souls and Bloodline Chronicles, being only at the very last part of Bloodline on Tuesday.  I’m not going to go into Bloodlines that much but receiving a level 1 potion as a reward is crap.  On that note, receiving a level 1 potion as a reward twice is absolute bullshit for the time it took me to finish those quests. /profanity

Obelisk was a little of a disappointment in terms of the number of quests only.  The only ones I could find were those picked up from mobs that were the typical book quests and then one for Summoning the Creator.  This went well and we managed to get all the way to the Vestibule inside the Obelisk before getting literally beaten back. We may return there again some day as the upper part of the Obelisk had some interesting hallways and a couple of closely spawning named mobs.  The layout here was probably one of the most interesting dungeons I have been in.

Have no fear though because this is all good news as there is nothing wrong with a raise before Christmas.  I may just have to celebrate by making a nice little stop by Gamestop and starting a new Sarnak character this weekend.  Wonder if my Iksar friend will mind…we are on Antonia Bayle after all.

November 16, 2007 Posted by | EQ2, RL | 4 Comments

Running on empty

Fuel_GuageI think for the past 6 years I have been sleeping on average about 5 hours a night.

I know that you are supposed to get something like 8 hours of sleep a night to be a fully functional human being but lets face it, I’m a gamer. We are powerhouses and store our stamina to sit for long periods of time in small recesses of our ass that most people do not have. Okay, thats gross but sometimes I question how long I can actually sit in a chair. Is my ass forming into some semblance of a cheap Staples chair pattern? Do I have biscuit buns at 30?

Some weekends I sleep in and get a good 9 or 10 hours if the wife is in a good mood and we aren’t out of town or at a friends house. This brings the tank back up to full and even drops in a little of that 3$ engine clean-out stuff. More often than not I tend to go right back into my routine of non-sleep the next day and with head down and running as fast as I can, I blast to the end of the work week. Its probably a normal thing in the gaming community and I might even be a mild case. However, when it gets to a point where it can affect your work, re-evaluations must be made. I quit my job.

Ha, that would be great wouldn’t it?

So, I’m going to bed earlier and with much regret I have limited my play time on weekdays to 11pm. This is really hard. Really, really hard. EQ2 isn’t the best for helping me stick to this goal and I found myself jumping out of a great guild group the other night while we were in the middle of the Hadden’s Earing and the Mask Heritage Quest. Definitely discouraging as I am not sure when I will be able to get a group together to return to that quest line.

What is shining here for me now is Tabula Rasa. I’m not going to get into what other people think about this game as I only care what it is doing for me right now. It offers me a chance to get in game for just an hour and participate in some very action packed battles. The rewards are decent and the goals simple but its the gameplay that keeps me going here. I can sit in this game by myself for a night and have a great time just helping NPCs or camping an outpost and not feel upset about leaving at 11.

My goal is to continue to log into EQ2 every weeknight and pick one quest to finish up before logging out. In EQ terms that could mean 30 minutes or two hours but I am going to have to really pick my battles here and rely on my friends and the EQ2i wiki to help me out. This also means that I’m not going to get any serious progression in either game until weekends.  Sacrifices must be made for the greater good and that greater good right now is the god of mortgages and bills.

If anyone knows what this deity takes for offerings (besides cash) please let me know.  My neighbor has some chickens I think.

November 7, 2007 Posted by | EQ2, RL, Tabula Rasa | 9 Comments

I’m no advocate for change but,

Burglar…there are some things that just need to be re-evaluated after a period of time.   Sometimes it takes a new set of eyes to look at the same issue and offer up a new solution.  Other times it takes a more brutal approach and slaps us right in the face and says:

“Wake up! Things are not how they should be!”

This weekend my house was broken into and I am at the point where I need to decide if having a firearm in the house is a better alternative to not having one.  Being a parent and living in more rural zone puts these reasons at the top of the argument for the pro side.  The flip side of this is that I am possibly endangering my child by simply having one in the house.

Lets get real though, all that was taken was a 3 liter bottle of root beer and 7$ in cash.

“But that was MY root beer and I wanted to drink it while playing EQ2 on double experience Sunday dammit!”

If you ask my wife, she thinks I was more upset about the root beer than anything else but I can’t help but think if the burglar had come upstairs would I have gone and picked up a new Smith and Wesson the next morning.  Someone violated my house and my refrigerator!  They gots ta pay.

November 5, 2007 Posted by | RL | 10 Comments

Mastercrafting chicken farmer

Hopefully by the end of tonight I will not only have completed with my son the first of his many runs of the Halloween gauntlet of giving but also have a full suit of Mastercrafted plate armor for my Berserker in Everquest 2!  This could be a good night.

I woke up this morning to the site of what the boy is going to be wearing and all I can say is that I am thankful I have a closet full of flannel.  This is going to be an easy one for me.   The wife hadchicken boy originally planned on dressing up the tike as a clown but after outcries from family members and a couple references of Pennywise, she picked up a new costume for $10 on the way home last night.

Its not every morning you wake up to a three foot rooster next to your bed.   The wife and I will be his “Farmers” tonight and its kind of ironic really seeing as he will be doing all of the begging for us.  I’m hoping for plenty of Twix, 100 Grand, and Snickers bars.

If he was a chicken instead I would probably start coaxing him into laying those damn feysteel clusters instead of eggs as I have been having a difficult time finding anything even close to the quantity I need.  After harvesting over 350 Tier 4 ore I have only found one rare, so either I have very bad luck or SOE needs to do something about the rate there.  If it wasn’t for the great friends I have on Antonia Bayle and the way the AB auction seems to gobble up everything I place on it, I would probably have given up on crafting this set a long time ago.  As it is now I am almost level 39 and looking ahead to tanking Deathfist Citadel. I just hope that it manages to hold up until the next tier.

October 31, 2007 Posted by | Crafting, EQ2, RL | , | 8 Comments

Fighting the battle with two shields

SAWAs we get closer to winter here in the northeast, the business runs a little slower and the chatter in the office picks up. There have been some great quotes this year already but the following one prompted me to dedicated a post exclusively to its ignorance.

There was just some inane conversation about movies and children going around while everyone was still coming in and starting to go through their e-mail when someone mentioned that they had let their child see the movie SAW. From what I understand, this child is about 13 or so and watched it without their parent. One of the responses I heard was:

“Its not as bad as some of the stuff he is going to see on those online games he plays anyway.”

Wow. If I was playing SAW: The MMO every night I would probably either be a complete psychopath right now or have thrown my computer in the basement and taken up basket weaving as my new pastime.

I look at this statement as the go-to misconceptions of those that are older than I am and have yet to spend any time actually playing games that they feel they can make such a broad generalization about.

In turn, I feel I can make that broad generalization about this generation because 95% of the people I have met over 45 have no understanding about MMOs, PC games, or console games other than that which they have gleaned from either their child or the news. I don’t see this as a weakness in them unless they choose to try to speak about the subject to prove some point.

The conversation in my office then jumped to:

“I’d rather have my child look at boobies than watch that movie.”

Child here being early teen… okay I can see that. If I had a choice between explaining female anatomy and the psycho in the movie SAW, I’d break out the medical books. I’d rather have him know more about the physiology of himself and the girls he meets everyday than the sickness thats lurking in the mind of killer he will never know. Its really a no brainer.

I’ve played Manhunt before. I played it from start to finish in all its sick glory and it was… entertaining. Sick, but entertaining. At no point in my life will I ever decapitate a man with a plastic bag and then hang that head from my back pocket. Its just not going to happen. At no point am I going to let my son play that game while he is living in my house. Thats just not going to happen either.

I’ll be on top of everything that comes out because its not only my responsibility as a parent but also as a gamer. I need to be able to discredit those people who don’t know anymore than the media tells them and also ward off the rolling eyes of the 12 year old friends of my son in the future. I can already see it coming too. “Dude, lets just go over to my place and play it.” What can I do but play it from both ends? Its like I’m in the middle of a battle with nothing but two shields.

Its a tough one because I think games like Manhunt should be allowed the freedom they need to be developed but also should be restricted in publication by the level in which they choose to embellish the violence. I should be hearing about these games from other parents, not in conversations between the children. This is how it was though and I can remember being the child in those situations.

My son will have it tougher than most because this ol’ man won’t be an ignorant fool and I hope I won’t be alone.

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Rants, RL | , | 1 Comment

Maybe the Beauty Queen was right

The following was a conversation between some of my fellow employees.  I don’t know what is more disturbing about this conversation, the fact that I know they bank a lot more than I do or that they had to use a reference tool.

Employee 1: Hey, what state is DE?
Employee 2:  I don’t know, Denver?
*pause*
Employee 2: I’d Google it.
Employee 1: Oh, its Delaware.
Employee 2: I was close.

… and my wife wonders why I cry myself to sleep every night.

October 25, 2007 Posted by | Rants, RL | , | 6 Comments

Now back to your regularly scheduled program

Wow, who saw that coming.  I actually got a fair amount of work this past week and it occupied my time a bit more than usual.  Looks as if I should be out of this mess by the middle of next week.

A lot has happened this past week both online and in my personal gaming.  I finally got a chance to login to Tabula Rasa.  I started a nice long writeup about it after I spent about 15 hours in game and plan on posting it early Monday morning. There is really so much to say about this game that I am not even going to attempt to sum it up here.

I dinged 33 last night in EQ2 and hit level 24 as an Armorsmith as well.  Its going fairly well as of late but I can’t help but be a little dismayed at the speed in which I am going through content now that our group joined up with a guild.  We are hopping around doing a little bit of everything but this weekend I think we will take a couple hours and explore Nectulos Castle together.  Should be fun.

Its funny, one of the main reasons I started this blog was to have an outlet for thoughts that come up when I am out reading in the blog-o-sphere.  This week I have had very little time to even read my favorites and because of that my writing here has stagnated.  I think the other writers out there are a key component of my inspiration and I want to give a big thank you to all of them for keeping the fire going.

This is probably going to be the only entry for this week, but be ready for a big TR writeup early Monday and some juicy EQ transmuting goodness as well.

October 19, 2007 Posted by | RL | 3 Comments

Necromancers don’t do drugs

My adventuring this week in EQ2 has been a little slow because of some RL issues affecting everyone in the group. You could definitely classify it as guild drama if we were in a guild right now, but its more or less just the final throws of a kind gesture gone bad.

Drugs are bad, mkayyy?

Despite this rather large distraction to the group, we did manage to get together last night and finish all three of our Armor Quests.

I first saw the Beserker Armor set the other night in Fallen Gate on another tankBeserker Armor and after a quick /inspect, I found out about the quest line. Its a good looking set of armor and I’ve seen some models similar to it around the city in different colors, so it must not change much between classes. The Inquisitor in our group finished the set last night as well, but I have yet to see it as she likes to wear a dress over everything. She does look damn good though.

During the fourth part of the quest, we stumbled upon an outpost on the northeastern edge of Nektulos. Turns out we needed a NPC there for the update before heading back to Freeport. What was interesting, was that there was a small cellar door next to her labeled Lair of the Necromancer. Turns out the place is a small instance for level 24 and above and has a quick boss battle at the end of the tunnels. One guess on what it was.

We were a bit overpowered for the entire instance, but the boss battle was interesting enough to keep us on out toes. He dropped a pair of slippers that nobody could use but hopefully I will be able to transmute as soon as I get that skill high enough.

Quick little side note:
I’m going to try out this new slide show system that WordPress recommends thats called Rock You. Its kind of nice that it links to my gmail account, but because its all flash based I can’t save what I created to my PC. Meh, its free and has a lot available to customize the images. I would recommend it so far.

[rockyou id=86269695&w=324&h=243]

October 5, 2007 Posted by | Adventure Journal, EQ2, RL | | 5 Comments

Could I be a better gamer dad?

There have been a large number of articles and posts about being a parent and gamer over theHomerSimpson past month and believe me, I haven’t been ignoring them. I wasn’t sure and still am not completely satisfied about how I can approach this and adequately express how I feel about this tough subject. I could go witty or brief and simply say “Everything in moderation” or “RL before RPG” but I don’t think its really a satisfying answer for myself or other parents.

I’m not going to argue the semantics of being a great gamer and what places one league of players above another. I’m also not going to give you tirades of back and forth psychoanalytic jargon about being a good parent and the benchmarks for your three year old child. I could honestly give two shits about that crap and since my wife became pregnant I think we picked up the “What to expect” book exactly 3 times.

What I am going to do is lay down exactly how I am as a parent and as a gamer and let other people decide. Will I change? Honestly, probably not. I like my lifestyle and I love my son. As I see it right now, he is doing great. Every morning that boy wakes up with the brightest smile on his face and every evening when that little boy goes to bed, we almost never hear a peep of disagreement from him. If you’re a parent, you know how great that can be.

I am thankful for the life I have but as a parent I can’t help but second guess the decisions I make. I think I got that about 2 hours after we figured out my wife was pregnant and my father would be quick to point out that, like worrying, it never goes away. So, I giving myself a sort of Daedalus test about my gaming and parenting specifically. I hope that it both helps me recognize the weak points in my daily routine and also my strengths.

Enjoy the split personality questioning after the jump!
Continue reading

October 2, 2007 Posted by | Rants, RL | , , | 5 Comments